NEILSTEIN SOUNDSCAM: AT LEAST OLD ALBUMS ARE STILL SELLING
I see a pattern developing in 2011; the only albums selling are old ones. It’s quite startling, in fact; it’s already mid-February and the new release machine is kicking into high gear, but the charts are still dominated by best-of compilations and classic albums from the likes of Metallica, Van Halen, Ozzy, Aerosmith (Idol Effect), and Guns N’ Roses and perennially charting butt-rock bands like Godsmack, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman, Kid Rock, Linkin Park, Nickelsuck, etc etc etc. AKA bands that appeal to people mostly over the age of 30. Will 2011 be the year that folks stop purchasing music en masse? It’s too early to tell, but things are not looking good.
In any case, last week saw a variety of solid new releases in the metal world from Full Blown Chaos, Lazarus A.D., Thomas Giles (of BTBAM) and Abysmal Dawn. Not bands you’d expect chart-busting numbers from, but still, heavy hitters in our world. Sadly, only one of those bands was able to crack the Top 100 in the Top Hard Music Charts. We know better than to claim these numbers as a definitive measure of those bands’ popularity, but as long as record labels are the source of funding to launch these bands’ careers — and until there’s a better ranking system that incorporates record sales, merch sales and touring revenue into one chart — sales numbers will matter to some degree.
Let’s look at how last week’s new releases, and a few others, performed on the Soundscan charts.
Top Hard Music
1 RED – UNTIL WE HAVE FACES
Last week: 42,731 (debut)
Who the fuck are Red? Oh, I see… they’re Christian, from Nashville and play butt-rock. They should just call themselves Red State. In any case, those are some serious numbers, good enough for #2 on the overall charts. Expect to see this band on Flyover State Butt Rock Shed Tour 2k11 this summer.
19 SKID ROW – SKID ROW
Last week: 3,042
I mentioned the trend of older albums charting above, but this one is completely baffling, now in its 3rd week back on the charts. Is Atlantic running some kind of Skid Row promo or end-cap? Did Sebastian Bach go out and buy all these himself to boost numbers? Beats the hell outta me, but more people owning this album is always a good thing.
22 WHITESNAKE – BEST OF WHITESNAKE-MILLENNIUM
Last week: 2,781
See Skid Row, above. WTF? At least this makes SOME sense with a new album on the way.
34 TIMES OF GRACE – HYMN OF A BROKEN MAN
Last week: 2,281
I can’t decide whether I think Roadrunner looks upon these numbers as disappointing or not. More than likely I think the attitude at the label is probably along the lines of “What’s good for Times of Grace is good for Killswitch Engage,” meaning that they’re ultimately taking the longview and looking upon this release as something that will boost KsE’s profile in this quiet period for KsE and in the longterm for KsE. Kind of like a loss-leader. That is probably the right way to look at it, because there’s no way they’re making money with 15,000 units sold.
38 AEROSMITH – DEVIL’S GOT A NEW DISGUISE
Last week: 2,127
43 AEROSMITH – GREATEST HITS
Last week: 1,932
50 AEROSMITH – ULTIMATE GREATEST HITS
Last week: 1,665
67 AEROSMITH – BIG ONES
Last week: 1,333
American Idol Effect! Tell me Joe Perry doesn’t somewhat regret being angry at Steven for taking the Idol gig now that he hears the clink of change dropping into his bank account.
61 WE CAME AS ROMANS – TO PLANT A SEED
Last week: 1,412
Who is this band? Are they good? Should I be paying attention? Serious questions — please tell me in the comments.
86 LAZARUS – A.D. BLACK RIVERS FLOW
Last week: 1,050 (debut)
And there it is! Congrats to the boys from Wisconsin. Whodathunk they’d out-sell a member of Between the Buried and Me?