Congratulations are most certainly in order for Bruno Mars. The soulful Pop crooner saw his sophomore album ‘Unorthodox Jukebox’ rocket to the top of the Billboard 200 this week, becoming his first chart topper on the coveted tally.
Yet, given that the album has been on sale for three months and Mars is presently preparing for a tour in support of it, many are scratching their heads as to what caused the sales spike.
Wonder no more, as the answer awaits after the jump…
The ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’ led set was one of a number of LP’s that saw it’s priced slashed to $1.99 in an Amazon MP3 sale last week. And while Billboard rules stipulate that albums sold for less than $3.49 will not count towards overall sales tallies – this only covers the four-week period following a projects release. Thereafter such sales do count, which explains the 95,000 copies ‘Jukebox’ shifted – an increase of 96% compared to its sales from the previous week.
With the said sale now wrapped, the album is being sold at $3.49 on the digital retailer – almost guaranteeing another solid set of numbers next week.
Released on December 11th 2013, ‘Jukebox’ debuted on the chart at #2 after shifting 192,000 units. As at writing, the set has recorded US sales of 960,000.
As “unfair” as some may christen this, we think it’s actually genius marketing and could more broadly bring about a brand of excitement arguably missing from the formulaic charts of today.
Indeed, so much emphasis is put on first week numbers, with those who fall short often seeing their project’s sucked into a black hole. However, with this savvy (and admittedly manipulative) M.O, it’s entirely plausible that albums that may have limped onto the charts initially could go on to sprint to the top months later. Of course that would mean record labels and artists taking a voluntary loss on projects, yet what they’d likely gain in the long-term is priceless. After all, such sales and certifications become PR spin, which helps turn manufactured hype into organic hype. And, as the narratives of the Rihanna’s have shown, enough marketing muscle can make “exaggerated” success “real” success relatively quickly too.
Bruno’s episode clearly stems from a need to push the project towards Platinum sales. However, we’re salivating at the prospect of underrated projects being given the same treatment as the industry adjusts to the fully fledged digital age of today. Like, right off the bat, there are at least ten criminally underrated projects from last year alone that we’d love to see resuscitated in such a way (hello ‘Lotus’, hello ‘Two Eleven’).
In the words of Fantasia, “sometimes you’ve got to lose to win again”. Whether the industry on mass will subscribe to this M.O will be interesting to see.