Sunday, June 16, 2024

UPDATED Another Bizarre iTunes Chart Jump: First It Was Mariah, Now it’s Madonna with 1994 Album “Bedtime Stories”


THURSDAY 12:30pm: LOL “Bedtime Stories” is number 1 right now. Through Tuesday night it has sold 87 copies, up from 70 the day before.  Mariah’s album has dropped to number 10. It was number 1 on Monday with just a few copies. iTunes has lost all credibility. Someone spent $170 on Madonna. I hope they’re happy.

EARLIER Last week, Madonna’s 1994 album, “Bedtime Stories,” sold 20 copies via streaming. This week, from Friday through Monday night, the same album sold 70 copies.

Somehow, “Bedtime Stories”– not a landmark recording– has landed at number 4 on iTunes tonight.

The Madonna album follows Mariah Carey’s “E=MC2,” which hit number 1 on Monday on iTunes even though its sales don’t reflect such a success.

Strangely, each of those albums– dormant for years– had a spike in sales on February 14th, then subsided. Now they’ve taken a second run at the top of the iTunes charts.

It’s the same, too, for Janet Jackson’s “Control,” from 1986. It was nowhere and is now number 7 or 8 on iTunes. Since Friday, “Control” has sold 337 copies. Last week, it sold 87.

None of the numbers for this week, for these divas’ old records, are comparable to current hit records. But somehow iTunes is counting them as top 10 hits. Three hit singers from the 1980s with fanatic fan bases. It’s likely not a coincidence. Someone is manipulating the iTunes chart.

The fan bases are all angry with me. They think I “hate” these singers or that I’m blaming the women themselves. None of it is true. But the peculiarity of the sudden jump in sales, the fact that the real numbers do not reflect these chart positions, and that they all had jumps on February 14th, raises a lot of questions.

The iTunes chart is often peppered with catalog albums. Right now there are some by the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Fleetwood Mac. James Taylor’s Greatest Hits got a bump, too. But that’s always attributable to something going in the media for the act. And those names I just mentioned are all in the news. Or their prices were deep discounted. But this is something else.

Some of the sales of old albums is also about the lack of new releases right now, and people looking for “comfort music.” But those three divas, and those particular albums don’t fit in that category. Whatever’s going on, it ain’t kosher. Will there be more of this? A Whitney Houston album? Stay tuned…


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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