Home Celebrity Lady Gaga Album Sales: Down 40%, But Interscope Didn’t Lose $25Million

ADDENDUM 9:22am MONDAY: I just noticed in that stupid Examiner.com piece the claim that Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way Ball” tour was pulled off the road because of poor ticket sales. Utterly insane. The 2012 “Born this Way Ball Tour” was the fifth highest grossing tour of that year. Part 2, in 2013, was cut short by the hip surgery. Still it grossed almost $20 million on 18 dates and beat acts like Eric Clapton and The Who. If the tour had continued, Gaga would have finished again at least in the top 10. The article also says that “ARTPOP” was supposed to be released by Christmas 2012. That was never true.

EARLIER: Lady Gaga’s “ARTPop” will debut this week at number 1, with around 250,000 copies sold. This is a big drop from “Born this Way.” That album sold either 660K or 1.2 million depending on how you look at it. Remember: Amazon sold 440,000 copies of “Born this Way” at 99 cents apiece. This caused SoundScan, Billboard, and Hits to decree that albums had to sell for a minimum price of $3.49 or not be tallied on the charts.

But let’s say “Born this Way” sold 660,000 copies. That was a great number. “ArtPOP” will do about 40 percent of that number. Not good. But just about in line with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus this fall. Far less than Eminem–yes. But that’s because Eminem has what I’d call a breakout or breakthrough single. “The Monster” is HUGE. It’s much bigger than singles by any of those female popsters. It’s that rare kind of number 1 that hits at all levels.

Yesterday the idiotic Examiner.com posted a story claiming “Artpop” was going to lose $25 million and cause massive layoffs at Interscope Records. Hilarious, totally untrue, fabricated. But The Vulture at New York magazine and The Wrap each picked it up. The story has now been removed from Examiner.com. But pretty much all the stories at that crazy website should be removed.

In fact, Lady Gaga’s costs are protected by endorsements and underwriters. There’s no exposure to Interscope. And worldwide, Gaga will do just fine with “ArtPoP” even with a 225-250K opening week.

But why didn’t it do better? Lack of focus. “Born this Way” had a purpose that spoke to the fans–especially disenfranchised teens, bullying victims, LGBT community. What is ARTPop about? It’s about Gaga moaning about her hip surgery, a supposed drug addiction, and the rarefied world of art auctions. How can her audience connect with this?

Telling: Her “Saturday Night Live” performances and hosting doesn’t look it drove sales at iTunes. Lady Gaga has gone way off point. I think that’s what manager Troy Carter was trying to tell her. And now he’s gone.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
3 replies to this post
  1. nice article. but the commentary about having a “breakthrough” single may be a bit off. Katy Perry’s Roar has already sold nearly 4 million copies worldwide. I’m not sure if the Em song will do the same, although it does have potential. I think on a another level what we are witnessing is a difference in fan base behavior. With Katy Perry, you see lower first week numbers, but a platinum selling artist and with tour numbers that are insane! With Em, you dont see a lot of touring, so many of his fans support the music upfront with album purchases.

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