Miley Cyrus’s constantly changing personae have led to sales disaster after disaster.
The most recent one is “Plastic Hearts,” released six weeks ago, featuring Joan Jett and Billy Idol. This was Miley’s “punk” “new wave” album, the latest in a series of genre zig zags since her last actual hit, “Bangerz,” over five years ago.
So far, “Plastic Hearts” has sold a total of 36,000 CDs and downloads. Counting in streaming of all the songs, the total bulks up to 200,000, according to Buzz Angle. But the pure sales number says it all: Cyrus has scared away whatever her core audience was. Considering her still relative youth, that’s quite a statement.
For some reason, Miley didn’t even anchor “Plastic Hearts” with her actual hit, “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart,” with Mark Ronson. Instead, she opened the album with a song that really said it all : “WTF Do I Know?” Indeed.
Contrast this to Taylor Swift, her peer, who has stayed a strong course and not mixed it up terribly much. Miley is three years younger than Swift, and has frittered away her career extolling her love of pot, mixed bag of public romances, and raunchiness that runs counter to her potential country audience.
Swift, on the other hand, now has the two best selling albums of 2020. Even with controversies surrounding her old catalog, Swift has risen to the challenge of maintaining a long term career.
Cyrus’s celebrity may not be enough to sell concert tickets when that business returns next fall. She’s going to have to be packaged with one or more acts.