Ne-Yo Weighs In On Industry Album Slump

Published: Friday 27th Apr 2012 by Sam

“The industry is changing”. “Times are different”. “It’s a recession.”

These are but a few of the many reasons employed to explain the increasing trend which sees artists such as Rihanna and Jason Derulo able to sell singles, while their albums under-perform.

Our friends over at The Associated Press have conducted an “investigation” of sorts, reaching out to artists themselves to probe the issue. One of the more potent responses came courtesy of hitmaker Ne-Yo.

Find out Motown’s new Senior Vice President of A&R had to say about the issue below…

Ne-Yo relayed:

“I feel like it falls on the shoulders of not only the record label, but the artists themselves. I feel like the thing that makes you go out and get a person’s whole album is you liking that artist, you connecting with that artist.

I feel like a lot of people are saying that the industry is moving to just being singles driven, and that’s kind of a cop out to me. So it’s like, basically that means that we sign a bunch of disposal artists, you know, as long as we get one hit that’s good? That’s B.S.

Today’s music executives should be taking the time and spending the money that it takes to make sure that you’re building icons, not fly-by-night, add water-and-stir artists.”




Can the church say Amen…

Your thoughts?


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  1. Taylor April 27, 2012

    Exhibit everything: Adele’s 21 hitting 9x platinum on its way to a diamond status.

  2. Nik Nak April 27, 2012


    Adele is amazing….21 is an amazing album. People want real music this proves it

  3. JJFan1814 April 27, 2012

    Here we go with Rihanna….




  4. @CoreyCyoBrown April 27, 2012

    They need Artist Development… duh! And not thinking that connecting with your fan base means being overly accessible. Plus stop letting the world know every decision that goes on behind the scenes… for ex: It’s my goal to drop a buzz single and two other internet songs before I give my fans my real single. <— huh? What happened to… this album is coming from a good place and I'm looking forward to my supporters hearing it? I feel like artist today are too revealing with interview lingo. They make us feel like we are being sold a product as opposed to them making art that we just so happen to love and want to support. Back in my younger days… most of the time the singer/performer's talent spoke the most. They promoted by making appearances on music/award shows. Did interviews that shared the motivation behind their albums and let us do the rest. Why are people saying stuff like… Brandy's Behind the Music episode is starting her album campaign? <– I HATE that! Then the next day she releases her next single or internet song. Instantly after reading the comment about her starting her campaign I felt like I was being sold and her and her team weren't being genuine with sharing the show.. ( not saying that they aren't ) but it can make a person question. Reading that also fogged my judgment on her song with Chris. There's no need for fans/ supporters to know your marketing strat. Give us outstanding music, life testimonies when appropriate, share information about yourself that's important, outstanding live performances, give aways, well planned casuals appearances and all else will follow. I DON'T WANT TO BE AWARE I'M BEING SOLD…. BRANDY ( to name the most recent )

  5. @CoreyCyoBrown April 27, 2012

    @Taylor And Adele is a perfect example of letting your life meet your talents to give birth to something the world feels it needs to have. She connected with us through her music. Her music told a story we all can relate to and/or can have compassion towards./smh On top of the songs having a great sound. Bottom line is people spend money, you just need to motivate them with the right motivation.

  6. hunni2nice April 27, 2012


    How many albums did it take for rihanna to become an established star and to sell that much worldwide? you can’t compare that to jason derulo.

    Anywho Adele proves that hit making micro-oven singles don’t mean jack.

  7. Calum April 27, 2012

    I think the problem is that the singles often sound nothing like the rest of the album, usually the singles are catchy dance pop, but the album tracks are rubbish and dated filler. Only the best artist seem to release cohesive albums.

  8. JJFan1814 April 27, 2012


    B**** don’t even….GGGB sold more than your fave has probably sold with 3 of their albums combined!!!!!! GGGB is what MADE Rihanna!! Rihanna became an established act with SOS & Unfaithful, GGGB just pushed her into a super star that we know today!!

  9. kimberly April 27, 2012

    @ jjFAN Why are you ignoring the first 4 flop ones? girl just stop. she has six you named 2, where are the others? use them to boost your argument.

    Neyo is right, artist now can sell all the singles but that doesn’t mean they will be icons or we will see them 20 years from now? They get hit songs and the writers, producers make money. like pitbull said 90% of the Industry is money 10% is talent and I blame Usher, Toni, to name a few following the trend but I applaud, Mariah, Monica, Ashanti, Beyonce for remaining true. When the trend is gone no one will remember these albums years from now. disposable,

  10. JJFan1814 April 27, 2012


    Music of the Sun been ceritfied gold by RIAA
    A Girl Like Me certified platinum by RIAA (close to 1.5 mil)
    TTT all certified as ‘Slayed Your Faves’

  11. kimberly April 27, 2012

    “not fly-by-night, add water-and-stir artists.” we have a lot of them present today

  12. the eeal xoxo April 27, 2012

    adele is a one-off. the general industry is full of talentless hacks.

  13. POP ROYALTY ( RUDE BOY) April 27, 2012

    so what about artists/icons who can’t sell neither singles or albums ?

    ;mrgeen: *insert a troll face here*

  14. KAT DELUNA FAN April 27, 2012

    This man should shut the f***,it may be true but for him to work with single artist all the time make it just ridiculous

    Who is f****** with to get that job? mm 😕

  15. 2/11 Songscribe April 27, 2012

    Promotion is promotion, albums aint selling, so one gotta do everything they can to stay relevant. #deal.
    To those who talk about quality music and staying true blah blah….Hush!!!.Staying true to waht?? for who?? U ain’t even interested in that real r n b u talking bou.. Classic E.G is Monica brown whom stans applauded her for staying true to r nb, but they did not care to thank her by purchasing her album. All those failing to realise that music is business can have a Nation of seats….u so resistant to change. think about the welfare of your faves

  16. JohnVidal (RIPWhitney-true great) April 27, 2012

    I´m with NeYo on this. I blame the record labels the most.
    I remember being optimistic last year with all the Adele thing, but it seems it was just a tremendous exception. The rest are just crap, sorry but it is what it is. If we want real talent and timeless music on top of charts we are always hoping for true greats from the past to do it (Mariah, madonna, etc) cos we f****** know no label support those type of artists nowadays (in case they appear from somewhere). We can only hope for those extra established-legendary artists to do something great which can also top the charts. And it shouldn´t be that way
    I still can´t comprehend how a f****** label had the bad taste to push Rihanna down our throats year after year till they achieved certain status for her. Couldn´t they have done that with somebody extra talented? How it used to be?

  17. kimberly April 27, 2012

    @JJFAN AFTER how many years b****? You call that slay? I CAN’T ! LOL, you call the combined sales off 6 albums impressive? I AM DONE. WHY WOULD YOU BRING THIS UP ON THIS POST TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF ANYWAY.

  18. trucieb April 27, 2012

    to quote: “I feel like the thing that makes you go out and get a person’s whole album is you liking that artist, you connecting with that artist.” So does everybody’s opinion of who they feel should be successful or have high sales numbers really matter? No, it’s all in who you like really. Love or hate (christina, beyonce, rihanna, gaga, or adele) somebody out there is going to buy their album. No one is more deserving than the other. In an era of downloads and singles releases, I still go out and buy full albums. However; I do have a one quam about Ne-Yo’s comments. what he says about it falling on the album and the artist, I can’t fully agree with or rather is he saying that he didn’t put any real effort in his last album? I mean I loved it but he’s downplayed it and making it seem like it was his fault the album didn’t sell. anywho!

  19. Lana Bell April 27, 2012

    Preach @CoreyCyoBrown. I agree with you 100% and I agree with Ne-Yo POV too.

  20. 2/11 Songscribe April 27, 2012

    @Sam u r one hillarious person. The congregation there had me rolling. Thats funny as hell

  21. Girrrl April 27, 2012

    Last time I checked TTT is outselling your faves ie Kelly flopland and 4lop. Anyhow Neyo needs to go back to the gentleman album sound. I still love that album.

  22. fucka stan April 27, 2012

    I’m not sure why people are getting mad.
    Ne-Yo is telling the truth….
    @Kimberly PREACH!!!!!
    There is nothing impressive about Rihanna’s album sales.
    She has hits for days and I give her props.
    But the shade is 4(Beyonce’s lowest)
    Still shits on rihanna’s lowest.

    I swear the navy is dyslexic.
    I mean they navy thinks people are seeing that movie just because Rihanna is in it.
    When in fact action/ sci-fi movies normally do well.

  23. Gigi April 27, 2012

    First of all, the problem is with radio. These days, R&B/Hip-Hop stations, alternative and rock stations, and soul and jazz stations are dropping like flies because the two or three companies who own all the radio stations in the US want to make that quick pop buck. So now we have a large swath of non-pop artists on a bunch of labels who will never sell big because they have no radio airplay. There’s something wrong when Melanie Fiona, Anthony Hamilton, et al are signed to major record labels, but we never hear them unless we deliberately keep up with their music. The record companies need to break the radio monopoly.

  24. Shioniedoo April 27, 2012

    Exactly. And I agree with you also @coreycyobrown.

  25. the real xoxo April 27, 2012

    the record label knows that the general public is stupid, the public dont care about talent anymore. adele is an exception. but in a society where kim kardashian and rihanna are successful and popular says it all really.

  26. Man-TAK-eee April 27, 2012

    Artist development and A&R days are a thing of the past. Labels dont want to put dollars or the time into that. Takes too much money and not profitable when you get a dud. The demographics of today isnt what it was 20-30yrs ago. Everyone lives in a social media generation. If it aint there now, we aint gonna buy it mentality. Everyone wants it cheap, cheap, cheap (free is even better) but want the highest quality and those 2 dont mix most of the time. Music industry has fallen to cracker jack boxes whilst the movie industry hasnt taken as much of a hit. Why? You can act forever… Still have all the great terrific actors of yesteryear still in the biz but in the music industry. They all dead and gone esp. now with the recent passing of whitney houston and MJ.

  27. hunni2nice April 27, 2012


    When you start your argument with “B****” you lost.

  28. Siberian Prince April 27, 2012

    @JJFAN1814…..what threw rihanna into superstardom was her getting her ass beat by chris brown. Nobody was f****** with your fav before that. Thats why gggb was her “breakthru” album cuz thay domestic violence case happened during that era. Get it right… rihana doesnt sell because of talent. She doesnt write her own music, camt sing live, cant dance….lol wat talent? Her out of control life is what sells her music

  29. MOBWIFE April 27, 2012

    “Motown’s new Senior Vice President of A&R” <– That's a GOOD LUCK congrats Ne-Yo!

    HERE HERE! I agree with most of what he said! I do think that the music industry has become too singles-driven and limted to a handful of "artists". We can all clearly see a difference in marketing and promoting certain acts as opposed to others. That is a major part in who we see on TV (award shows, guest apparences etc) or hear on the radio. With that said, I do think he is spot on about manufacturing artists. No offense to any "One Dimension" fans but WTF? The "powers that be" are really trying to turn them into the new Beatles IMO! It's annoying. Let ppl have a range of music and artists to select from without being forced to accept those the PTB deem appropriate!

  30. MOBWIFE April 27, 2012

    April 27, 2012 at 6:14 am
    Exhibit everything: Adele’s 21 hitting 9x platinum on its way to a diamond status.

    There are many many many reason’s for this development and they are not all good! Dont get me wrong, I like Adele (a tad more before I discovered how ARROGANT she really is) and no one can deny her talent but when she only has favorable press and is placed on a pedestal then yes, she sould know the level of success that she has today! Then of course the one true threat to her (AMY WINEHOUSE..RIP) died suddenly so she’s doing quite well for herself give those factors!

  31. MOBWIFE April 27, 2012


    I think it’s the usual dig against Rihanna but what Sam said about Jason Derulo is spot on! He has received million’s in video views and sold quite a bit in CD singles but his 1st week sell for his latest CD were terrible. 13k or 15k, I mean really with all of the momentum he had going even I thought he would fair better than that!

  32. King Tasha April 27, 2012

    Rihanna, Derulo, Katy, Florida = the same formula….each one might when a billboard or teens choice award along the way but……

  33. DIONFATALEI April 27, 2012

    He’s definitely not referring to Rihanna, all off her albums thus far have gone Platinum.

    He’s talking about the Flo Rida, Jessie J, Jason derula, Willow Smith, Hot Chelle Rae, etc etc. artist that sell singles but can barely get a GOLD album.

  34. Theman April 27, 2012

    Katy Perry has a double platinum album, so she’s doing good. She doesn’t counr. He’s talking about artist that can’t get a gold/platinum plaque with all of those manufactured hit singles.

  35. Theman April 27, 2012


  36. MISHKA April 27, 2012

    AMEN, NE-YO, AMEN !!!!

  37. JER April 27, 2012

    That’s rich coming from an artist that has never delivered a solid album with more than 4 or 5 good songs.

  38. commanderofthedancefloor April 27, 2012

    the haters kill me!!!

    ttt has sold 2.7 million well on its way to 3 million, more than over 95% of the albums released last year there are only 4-5 albums that did sell more and thats adele, lady gaga, coldplay, and michael buble!!! so she isnt doing that bad, she is the best selling black artist of the last 3 years!!!
    so hop of her p****!!!!

    this is for flo rida, lmfao, t-pain all the artist that get top ten albums but dont even sell 2 million world wide!!!

  39. Sammie April 27, 2012

    i dnt think he was talkin about rihanna because even though rihanna doesnt sell the way one of the biggest stars in the world (her STANS words not mine lol) should sell she still sells decently .. not because of her talent rihanna sells her personality so yea she sells albums (kinda i mean only 3 out of 6 have sold well) but she still does kind of contribute to the problem ..U dont have to have talent anymore to be considered one of the biggest stars and thats really just sad ..Adele has sold amazingly and is considered to be jus as big as rihanna but would we say they are equally talented .. that would be a complete and utter joke to even consider that LOL i think the industry needs to get back to artist development and creating a complete package .. i mean wen u think about it which artists of today can kill an uptempo then sit down at a mic and give a flawless vocal .. we have beyonce, gaga, pink and uhhhhh thats about it .. with all the artists out today we should have a bunch of those kind of well-rounded artists as well as the adeles and mariahs etc. .. we have the opposite .. we have artists that cant sing and cant even make up for it with flawless choreography like a janet its just a bunch of mediocre crap .. I duno i hope talent becomes important again because looking at the hot 100 sometimes is just depressing

  40. Blue April 27, 2012

    Ne-yo has a point and wasnt refering to rihanna all her albums have all sold above 500k with only mots selling below 800k.
    and ttt and mots are the only ones below 3mil ww and both about 2.5mil.
    tell me how that aint selling, nt to mention 3 of those have outsold beyonce’s and countless others.

  41. Rachel April 27, 2012

    Sorry but u can measure talent or compare it, singing is a god given talent it has nothing to do with who u are, meaning was lucky to be born with the voice she got she had no influence on it, neither does rihanna its what u do with ur talent that matters, and please calling rihanna talentless is just stupid when obviously she does! Nw compare who has done more with what god gave them?

  42. do April 28, 2012

    i think those record exec are to blame more than anyone i think record exec in the past were music lovers themselves they knew and cared abt the art of music and working with artists closely nowdays music is just a business u have a lot of them who have more marketing knowledge than music knowlege it use to be a clive davis world now its a la reid and jimmy iovine world

  43. Casual April 28, 2012

    Album sales are driven largely by demographics. Adele is selling b/c she has a huge fan base over 30 (and even over 40) years old.

    If you think this is crap, here are two words for you – Susan Boyle. Her albums sold millions each time w/o any hit singles, just based on her popularity from her appearances on Britain’s Got Talent and the fact that she’s adored by older demographics.

    The older a person is, the more likely he or she is to still be buying CDs. Teens and 20-somethings rarely buy CDs, and in fact, usually download their music. This has lead to the trend of a new album coming out and seeing several of its songs debut on the chart at the same time. It’s b/c listeners actually listen to the album and then just buy the cuts they like.

    So, Katy Perry and Rihanna can blow up the singles charts all they want, but their young fan bases will never buy their albums in large quantities.

  44. UnMutedOne April 28, 2012

    Neyo was absolutely talking about Rihanna. All I can do is laugh at you fools who think that her selling only 2.7 million WW is a *good* figure. She’s supposed to be a pop star, right? And — if you let her silly fans try to tell you — one of the biggest…but her album has sold less than 1 million in the US and less than 3 million abroad?! The f*** is THAT? Rihanna’s sales ain’t s***. Hell, even her Loud album that her fans love to brag about didn’t move any numbers that impressed me.

    A real pop star who has hits left and right doesn’t stall at Gold or Platinum. In amongst their scoring big hits, their albums should go **at least** 3x platinum in the U.S. and accumulate sells upwards of 10 million+ WW. Rihanna doesn’t move those numbers because she’s every bit the ‘singles’ artist Jason Deuerlo (or however you spell his name) is.

    The bottom line is that few trusts Rihanna’s albums to be worth spending a $10 on, and so they just go to iTunes and download single after single for cheap. That she can’t even inspire large first weeks sales or score a #1 album tells a bigger story than her fans let on. Yeah, sure, continuous sales over an extended period of time is important…but that s*** comes from casual or non-fans, who hesitantly pick it up when they’re out and remember to, and if it’s convenient at that moment. She doesn’t inspire a massive wave of people to drop what they’re doing and make copping her album a priority…which is what a leading pop star is SUPPOSED to do. If Rihanna’s fanbase was strong, her sales would immediately avalanche the competition, but that never happens with her.

    Same can be said for Katy Perry. B**** scored 5 or 6 #1 singles and is a radio darling, but the album they’re from is only 2x platinum? And it took forever for it to reach THAT much. Katy scored more hits from her album than Backstreet Boys and Nsync did at their peaks, and yet they went diamond and sold like 30+ million WW…while she only narrowly makes it to 2x platinum and probably didn’t sell more than 5 million WW. That’s pathetic.

    Katy’s and Rihanna’s albums SHOULD be at the very least 4-5x platinum in the U.S. and seeing worldwide sales of 15+ million. Their numbers are not impressive, or even good. I wouldn’t be surprised if despite all the surface singles success and exaggerated hype, their record labels don’t actually make a real profit off these whores albums…which is why Rihanna has to continually record and release new albums every year, just so that the label can see some kind of cash flow from her.

    This is happening because, again, few takes this current wave of pop stars seriously and people don’t trust their albums to be worth the money, and so they download and download and download and call it a day. All I can say is that every pop star who debuted before 2006-2008 and sold REAL numbers should be grateful that they didn’t emerge during this jokey social networking era.

  45. NE-YO*STAN April 28, 2012

    Co-sign. We have some intelligent people here.

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