Chart Watch: Timbaland Desperate For A Hit

To say that Timbaland's Shock Value II is failing to match the success of its predecessor is a bit of an understatement.

The producer-turned-rapper was ubiquitous in 2006 and 2007 as hits from his own Shock Value in addition to Nelly Furtado's Loose and Justin Timberlake's Futuresex/Lovesounds ruled the airwaves.  His second attempt at pop domination has fallen flat on its face however.

It's surprising, as Shock Value II seemed destined to be a smash considering its featuring credits.  Besides the aforementioned Furtado and Timberlake, the album includes Keri Hilson (another Timbaland favorite), the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana, Katy Perry, OneRepublic, and Drake.  Still, the album stalled at a miserable No. 36.

So far, four singles from the album have been released.  Here they are in descending order of their peak position on the Hot 100:

"Carry Out" feat. Justin Timberlake - No. 31
"Morning After Dark" feat. Nelly Furtado & SoShy - No. 61
"Say Something" feat. Drake - No. 82
"If We Ever Meet Again" feat. Katy Perry - No. 98

Ouch.  Timbaland has only managed one top 40 hit from this entire project.  Compare that with the three top three hits he managed in 2007 with "Give It To Me", "The Way I Are", and "Apologize".  Somebody needs to be fired.

What's interesting about Tim's sole top 40 hit, "Carry Out", is that it reached its peak position nearly a month ago and then fell quickly and quietly from the charts before reappearing again this week at No. 32, just one spot shy of its peak.  This oddity can easily be explained by taking a trip to iTunes where "Carry Out" sits at No. 11 priced at 99 cents in a sea of $1.29 singles.

Early in 2009, iTunes allowed labels to choose the price of their songs.  The 99 cent price was still an option, but labels could had two other price tiers to choose from, 69 cents, and $1.29.  It was no surprise when the top hits of the day got more expensive, because consumers were willing to pay those 30 extra cents.  This new pricing strategy opened up a whole range of possibilities, one of which was labels ability to drop the price of a hit to generate extra sales and give it the edge it needed in the charts.  Sometimes pride is more important than the paycheck.

Every song from Shock Value II is priced at $1.29 except "Carry Out" which now ranks as the 22nd most downloaded song in the country.  Granted, the Timberlake featured single probably would have ended up doing better than Shock Value II's other singles for the sole fact that Justin is on it, the guy who gave Madonna her biggest hit in almost ten years.  Also, unlike any of the album's other singles, its actually getting radio airplay.  This week its the 50th most played song on radio, up from its 56th ranking last week.

Don't expect "Carry Out" to be the next "SexyBack", but a continued climb up the Hot 100 seems likely.  If Timbaland's pricing strategy ends up scoring him his sole hit of 2010, don't be surprised if other faltering pop stars sacrifice their wallets in an attempt to reach their former glories.

1. Ke$ha - "Tik Tok" (fifth week at No. 1)
2. Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"
3. Jay-Z - "Empire State of Mind" feat. Alicia Keys
4. Young Money - "BedRock" feat. Lloyd
5. Iyaz - "Replay"
6. David Guetta - "Sexy Chick" feat. Akon
7. Train - "Hey, Soul Sister"
8. Rihanna - "Hard" feat. Jeezy
9. Owl City - "Fireflies"
10. Ludacris - "How Low"


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