Circle next Friday, June 14th (yes, it’s almost the middle of June). That’s the day Bruce Springsteen and Madonna go head to head with album releases. Bruce has “Western Stars.” Madonna has “Madame X.” Two legacy stars, over 60 years old, with very different fan bases. What will happen?
We won’t know until the following Thursday, June 20th, when the numbers are counted. But even now it’s possible to get an idea.
Neither act will have much sales in the way of streaming. So CDs– yes, CDs–and paid downloads will be the main venue for each of them.
So far, Amazon lists Bruce at number 1 in CD sales of all its discs, even though it hasn’t been released. Amazon buyers have already made “Western Stars” number 1. As for digital, Amazon lists “Western Stars” at number 44. That’s not surprising. As I said, the bulk of Bruce’s sales won’t come from streaming or Spotify or Apple Music.
As for Madonna, “Madame X” is the number 97 CD on the top 100. On the Amazon digital chart, it’s a much worse story– somewhere in the 500s. There is not much clamor for “Madame X.”
But here’s the catch: Madonna is including CDs or paid downloads with her concert tickets. If ticket buyers redeem their links or CDs, it will count on the charts as a sale. It’s quite possible that Madonna will edge out Bruce at number 1 based on this crazy catch. If she doesn’t, then you know things are really bad. In any case, each time Madonna has used this loophole to hit number 1, she’s dropped by 70 or 80 percent the following week.
I haven’t heard Madonna’s album, except for the failed singles including “Medellin.” Springsteen’s album surprised me. It’s very, very strong. When word spreads beginning on the 14th, this may help sales. “Western Stars” is going to get rave reviews.
Meanwhile, Madonna’s already in PR trouble, complaining her New York Times Magazine profile coming this Sunday. She wrote on Instagram: “It makes me feel raped. And yes I’m allowed to use that analogy having been raped at the age of 19.”
So, we’re not off to a good start.