As one of the year’s biggest releases, all eyes are naturally on the commercial performance of Alicia Keys‘ fifth studio album ‘Girl On Fire’.
Backed by a gargantuan promotional campaign, the set has seen its title track hit the top ten of Singles tallies all over the globe.
Was that enough, though, to ensure the album deliver blockbuster first week US sales in the vein of her previous four releases? The answer awaits after the jump…
According to the ever-reliable Hits Daily Double, ‘Girl On Fire’ will open at #1 on the Billboard 200 with sales of…
In the spirit of keeping it 100, these figures will come as an un-spin-able blow to Camp Alicia. Yes, it’s a #1 and yes the sales are somewhat solid for an R&B release in 2012. But what’s also factually correct is that the numbers are not only lower than the initial 175k predicted, they mark the lowest opening figure for a traditional Alicia Keys album since ‘Songs In A Minor’.
Indeed, the said album (which was released in 2001) debuted with sales of 263,000. Its follow-up, 2003’s ‘The Diary Of Alicia Keys’ blazed straight to #1 after shifting a whopping 618,000 units first week. 2007’s ‘As I Am’ continued Keys’ chart-blazing streak with premiere week sales of 742,000. The 31 year old’s album preceding ‘Fire’, 2009’s ‘The Element Of Freedom’, topped the tally with sales of 417,000.
Viewed this way, not even the recession or illegal downloading can account for such a drastic drop in the space of three years.
So what went “wrong”?
Some will look to “scandal”, but in our drive to keep the focus on the music, we must point to the decision to push the underwhelming title track. It simply wasn’t good enough – especially to lead a project of this caliber. What’s more, in an era where even established acts are scrambling for sales, surely it’d have been safer to proceed with a two-single (and video) approach to usher in the album?
Still, thankfully for Keys, the album boasts a number of tracks that could keep it warm on the charts in the weeks and months ahead. And -make no mistake- it’s now the material that the project’s success is hinged on, for given her “no stage untouched approach”, it’s clear promotion was not the issue. At all. We wish her the best of luck.