Glee and Eclipse Crush Christina's Hopes of No. 1

     "Let us not forget who owns the throne," sings Christina Aguilera at the close of her Bionic album.  "You do mommy," her son Max answers.  Not so fast Max.  Mommy might have sold over 42 million records worldwide and won four Grammys, but the queen she is not.  A quick look at the Billboard 200 album chart makes this crystal clear.

     Her aforementioned album, Bionic, was released last week.  As her first studio album in four years, you'd expect this superstar comeback to easily top the charts.  Instead, Bionic debuted at a more moderate No. 3 selling a tepid 110,000 copies.  That's down from 2006's Back to Basics which sold 346,000 in its first week.  And don't blame the economy or the imploding record industry - Britney sold more copies of her 2008 Circus in its first week than 2007's Blackout.  Regardless, I'm more concerned with how the two albums above Aguilera managed to hit No. 1 and 2 than why Christina sucks (that's already been discussed by Chase).

     No. 1 on this week's Billboard 200 is Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals EP followed by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at No. 2.  What's interesting about these two albums is that they didn't have radio support to promote themselves (You could probably say the same thing for Aguilera after "Not Myself Tonight" peaked at an embarrassing No. 23, but I digress).  Instead, these two soundtracks relied on the the television and movie screens respectively as well as their established brands.

     The Glee EP is the third consecutive release from the show to top the album chart following The Power of Madonna EP and Volume 3: Showstoppers, the latter which was No. 1 only two weeks ago.  The show has built up a very loyal fanbase, and it benefits from being a collection of covers that consumers are already familiar with.  This is not the last No. 1 album Glee is going to have either.  If they continue to release on a schedule like this, they might pass up the Beatles and Jay-Z for the most chart topping albums before long.

     The third installment of the Twilight movie soundtracks is the first to not go No. 1.  Not only does the Mormon vampire saga have fans arguably more intense than Glee, but it has major cross over appeal.  When I think of the average Twilight fan, I imagine girls with pink iPod nanos filled with Justin Bieber and the artist formerly known as Hannah Montana.  The Twilight soundtracks are definitely not that kind of music though.  Instead, they are a who's who of indie royalty including Vampire Weekend, Bat for Lashes, Muse, and Thom Yorke.  So not only are teenage girls buying these soundtracks, college guys are buying them.

     Like I said before, you're not going to hear any of the Glee or Eclipse songs on the radio, yet these two soundtracks sold 152,000 and 144,000 copies respectively to crush Christina.  It's a powerful reminder that the music industry is in a different place than it was ten years ago, and a new business model is needed.

     Yesterday, I followed the Music & Advertising Conference on Twitter and read what industry insiders had to say about the record industry in the Internet age.

     "When the average kid goes to Best Buy, records are on the left games are to the right, the kid is going to the right," said Steve Schnur of video game maker EA.  "Awareness of musicians in games can increase exposure and contributes to the value of copyrights," he added.

     CDs don't make money like they used to, and record companies need to find new ways to generate revenue and promote their artists.  Just as video games present a new medium for presenting music, this week's album charts show the power of television and movies for selling music.  Aside from actually making a good record, Christina probably would have sold a lot better this week if the cast of Glee covered "Not Myself Tonight" or if it was about teenage vampire love.


ConnieGirl said...

I'm not a fan of Twilight AT ALL, but they do actually have really good indie soundtracks.

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