MONDAY DEC 16 UPDATE: Sales have slowed considerably. Saturday sales were around 40,000 all in, with two thirds of those coming from the ticket bundle. Can “Fine Line” make it all the way through the week at number 1 on iTunes? Cliffhanger…
SUNDAY DEC 15 It’s all good news for Harry Styles, who launched his second solo album on Friday.
“Fine Line,” a pleasing collection of seventies-style rock, sold a whopping 200,000 copies upon release on Friday. That’s an enormous number. But it comes with an asterisk: A CD copy of “Fine Line” was included in the sale of every ticket to Harry’s upcoming North American tour.
This is the same method that was used to make Celine Dion number 1 last week. Her album spurted to number 1, then disappeared in week 2.
Of the 200,000 units of “Fine Line” sold, Buzz Angle Music figures show that 135,000 were CDs– more than likely part of the album/ticket bundle. Physical sales (5,000 LPs sold as well) comprised 68% of the total. Digital sales– streaming and paid downloads– came to 66,000 copies. So the latter is the “real” number for Friday, which is still pretty impressive in this market.
The tour consists of 34 dates, which means roughly an average of 4,235 tickets were sold per date. Each of those people received CDs. The venues Harry’s playing are all arenas, capacity of almost 20,000. The production design is reminiscent of a great U2 tour from a few years ago, with the floor all general admission standing, the stage in the center of the floor, and all the seating around the arena without obstructed views.
It would seem that all the ticket bundles were counted on Friday for that total, but more will come in during the week. There are some predictions of sales of 400,000 music units by the end of this Thursday. We’ll know right away how many were sold in bundles.
One thing that hasn’t happened from all these sales is a number 1 single, either on iTunes or Spotify. We’ll keep an eye on that, too.
But none of this means that Harry isn’t popular, or that the marketing of “Fine Line” hasn’t been superior. The entire project– design, branding, the album debut show at LA’s Inglewood Forum, trotting out Stevie Nicks, etc– is genius. Even Harry vacillating about being bi-sexual in the press adds an aura of mystery. (James Franco played this like a fiddle a few years ago.) Harry’s team is working on all cylinders and doing a great job to establish a rock star who will last a decade. And that’s what it’s all about.