Saturday, June 15, 2024

Janet Jackson Halts CD Sales Collapse By Bundling Downloads with Concert T Shirts


This week Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” album only dropped 3% since last week and sold 18,888 copies according to hitsdailydouble.

That’s a marked change from the prior week, when “Unbreakable” dropped either 81% or 74% depending on which calculation you accept. Either way, “Unbreakable” careened down from 105,000 copies in its debut to 19,000 the second week.

It’s great that sales stabilized, but what happened? It turns out Janet has been selling physical CDs, vinyl, and digital downloads as part of a package with T shirts and merchandise. For either $29.99 or $39.99 you get a nice T shirt plus three or four different kinds of recordings. And those recordings count toward sales.

Is it fair? Well, both Prince and Madonna have been selling CDs bundled with concert tickets for some time. Initially it inflates sales of the music and puts them on the charts. It doesn’t always work, however, and hasn’t very much for those two artists. In Janet’s case it looks like it helped a lot. Her tour is going well, and everyone wants a T shirt. Bundled with the music, the whole thing thing a bargain.

Is it kosher? The business is tough, so every marketing idea is welcome now. Janet’s people are treating it like a concert souvenir. Even with all this, BMG is losing money on that album.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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.

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