Madonna's “MDNA” falls from #1
04-11-2012, 09:56 PM,
Madonna's “MDNA” falls from #1
Quote:Madonna’s Sprint to No. 1 Has Made the Fall Even Harder

...In its second week out, (MDNA's) sales fell 86.7 percent, from 359,000 to 48,000. That is the biggest second-week percentage drop for a No. 1 album since 1991, when Billboard began using precise data from Nielsen SoundScan to compile its charts.

What happened?

Madonna’s album has suffered from the lack of a hit single, and the second-week doldrums are also to a great extent due to an unusual sales promotion.

For her latest concert tour, for which tickets went on sale in February — shortly after she played the Super Bowl halftime show — fans were offered a copy of the album for each ticket they bought. (The only sales of “MDNA” that affected the charts as a result were those in which the customer actually redeemed the coupon and received the album — which Billboard estimates at 185,000.)

But Madonna’s drop is also a symptom of the music industry’s new promotional rhythm.

It’s long been the case that hit albums experience a big drop in their second week out. But since overall sales have plunged in recent years, labels have been pushing harder to secure the biggest opening-week numbers possible. That means ad campaigns, television appearances and well-timed single releases, as always. But for the highest-profile releases it now also means brand tie-ins and unusual retail schemes.

It’s not unusual these days for record executives to describe their marketing plans (or hopes) in terms similar to those for a blockbuster movie, for which the opening date is all important.

The full-court-press marketing certainly helps at the start. Madonna planned a promotional blitz for the rollout of “MDNA,” including not only the Super Bowl appearance but also a blanketing of radio and billboards around the world for her first single, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” and new retail avenues like, the daily-deals site for arts and design.

One byproduct of this strategy, however, is that albums that open at No. 1 now have farther to fall in their second week. The new low set by “MDNA,” with its 86.7 percent drop, tops Lady Gaga’s second-week loss for “Born This Way” last year.

Like Madonna’s album, “Born This Way” had plenty of corporate tie-ins as well as a controversial retail arrangement: Amazon sold the digital version of Lady Gaga’s album for 99 cents, angering brick-and-mortar retailers. “Born This Way” opened big, at 1.1 million, but then fell 84.3 percent to 174,000. Of the five albums that have had the biggest second-week drops from No. 1, four have been in the last two years.

While “MDNA” falls to No. 8 this week, and “Born This Way” sits at No. 161 in its 46th week out, the biggest contrary example of this trend is sitting pretty at No. 2 — Adele’s “21” (XL/Columbia) had no extraordinary marketing when it came out last year, and no sales gimmicks, but it has barely budged from the Top 5.

This week, its 59th week out, it sold 153,000 copies — up 26 percent from the week before.

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