Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stiff? The Throne Sells 177,000 In Second Week...

by paul:

The Best Buy exclusive never really kicked into overdrive. The iTunes exclusive never ramped towards the stratosphere. And a 'military-like' anti-leak strategy had limited impact in the end.

The numbers tell the story. In its second week, The Throne's Watch the Throne shifted just 176,832 units in the US, bringing the cumulative to 612,911 according to Nielsen Soundscan figures. That was supposed to be the tally after week one, at least according to overconfident predictions and pre-release backslapping. Instead, second-week sales slipped a pronounced 59.5 percent.

First-week numbers were also considered soft, though part of that can be blamed on a late start by Best Buy. Jay-Z and Kanye opted for an irregular release day at physical - ie, Friday - a move that opened the possibility of a healthier second week.

Not so, though calls of a 'stiff' may be extreme. Still, this raises a lot more questions than answers, including the role of a mid-release layoff at Island Def Jam. The label released more than 30 staffers after the album was released, though it remains unclear if that timing affected subsequent album support.

Indie retailers may also have something to say on this matter. After the supergroup opted for an extremely-limited exclusive involving iTunes and Best Buy, a consortium of independent retailers expressed outrage at being 'boxed out' of the process. The iTunes+Best Buy strategy seemed driven by business considerations, though Jay-Z later indicated that Best Buy was chosen with anti-leak considerations in mind.

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