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Hot Topic : Can Album Sales Be Saved?

In an article posted by Billboard Biz last month billed ‘UK Album Sales Drop By 13%’, the unfortunate but unsurprising news that the rate of LPs sold in the UK had reached record breaking lows hit music lovers all too hard.

Intensified even further with a subsequent report which revealed ‘old releases’ were currently outselling their new counterparts for the first time in US chart history, it’s safe to say that the industry has seen far better days- as it currently  experiences its worst.

Indeed, despite commercial highs scored by Adele, Drake, Lil Wayne  and Pop deity Lady GaGa, very little can be done to disguise the desperate state many a label find itself in as they struggle to convince the buying public their acts are worth…buying.

So, ever eager to catch your take on matters like these, That Grape Juice asks you:

Can Album Sales Be Saved?


What do you think the labels are doing wrong when it comes to pushing them?

Weigh in below…


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Pop Equality : Does Race Play Into Chart Success?

Back in May, ‘Magnetic Fields‘ front man Stephen Merritt found himself under the media gaze after he made comments questioning the public’s support of ‘21‘ chart topper Adele.

In an interview with LA Weekly, he suggested that Caucasian artists performing what he called ‘black music’ were often more palatable to viewers than Black artists performing ‘black music’- hinting at an  underlying but unintentional racist streak in Popular audiences.

His comments didn’t end there. In making the comparison between the radio airtime given to Black Rap acts and their fairer counterparts, he concluded:

There is something unsavory about the way audiences sometimes disproportionately favor white artists making black music.

Witness Eminem’s repeated appearances on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks (now Alternative Songs) chart with songs sporting an unmistakably hip-hop bounce like “My Name Is” and “Without Me.” The only way to explain his crossing-over to rock radio is his skin color.

Billed as an exaggeration of a dated issue, Merritt’s remarks came under fire from some That Grape Juice readers who argued their reasons for supporting artists came on the grounds of quality and not race.

However, these found themselves countering arguments supporting the performer’s theory.

Pointing out, that despite the prior success of AaliyahTLC, Brandy, Monica and Janet in the 90s, this generation only boasts three commercially viable Black female artists.

These being, Rihanna, Beyonce and rising Rapper Nicki Minaj.

So now we ask you:

Do you feel race plays into chart success?

Weigh in below…


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Pop Music : Are ‘Vocalists’ On The Decline ?

Perhaps in response to the industry’s increasingly disposable nature, the question of talent remains ever present fueled by the head scratching ascent of many a contemporary act.

Unashamedly lacking any discernible gift or skill worthy of their notoriety, gone are the days where an artist did one or the other and if ‘the fan’ was lucky – both.

Instead, barring the likes of Alexandra Burke, Beyonce, Lady GaGa, Jessie J and Adele, it’s safe to say the actual ‘talent’ of most entertainers finds itself in disrepute, backed not by their skills but chart feats and in some cases…Twitter followers.

So now we ask:

Are vocalists – gifted singers – on the decline? Or are they just a little harder to find in the blur that is the Hot 100?


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Product Vs. Promotion: Ameriie

Underrated.  Just one of the many things often named with ‘1 Thing’ hitmaker Amerie Rogers.  Her humble beginnings may have found her lost in the shuffle of a new wave of early 2000s R&B belles, but the musical melting pot that was her debut album ‘All I Have’ quickly set her apart.  A melting pot, hinting at R&B, soul, pop, and hip hop, that seemed filled with almost as many diversities as the singer herself.

Led by the mid tempo ‘Why Don’t We Fall In Love’, fans quickly fell in love with this beauty’s varicolored vocal stylings, accented by layers of decorative harmonic arrangements.  A quality that would remain a distinct constant, yet misprized feature of her offerings.

However, it was the introduction of ‘1 Thing’, the lead single from the 2005 ‘Hitch’ soundtrack (Will Smith) and her sophomore album ‘Touch’ that saw R&B lovers really get in touch with her work…


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Hot Topic: Sales Vs Certifications

Yesterday evening, Pepsi darling Nicki Minaj celebrated the news that her sophomore LP ,’Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded‘, had been certified Platinum in the US.

However, as the love fest between she and her ‘Barbz’ went on on Twitter, the news came under intense scrutiny from the Rapper’s critics.

Critics, who did not understand how an LP which is yet to move 600,000 units in the US was able to be certified Platinum (1 million copies).

So, ever eager to address the issues you care most about, That Grape Juice dedicates today’s ‘Hot Topic’ to the system that is an RIAA certification.

Full explanation below…


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Hot Topic: Are Lasting Artists On The Decline?

In 2008, Tina Turner launched “Tina!:50th Anniversary Tour” in honor of five decades spent atop the music industry.

Four years after Turner graced 40 cities across the North America and Europe, Lionel Richie watched his 9th studio album ‘Tuskegee’ rocket to #1, 20 years after the release of his self titled debut album ‘Lionel Richie‘.

Both rare feats, their successes 10, 20, 30 years or more after their debut is both a testament to their talent and their ability to ‘hold on’ to audiences, against a number of industry induced odds.

The question is though, how many of today’s performers could follow in Lionel and Tina’s suit?

How many of them could bring in audiences long after their initial hype has died, respected enough to command major numbers in an industry with an ever growing age bias.

In short, we want to know?

Do today’s acts have what it takes to stand the test time of time?


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Hot Topic: What Makes An Icon?


A word thrown about fans up and down the blogosphere, recent years have seen a number of today’s acts awarded the title, accurately and inaccurately.

From Justin (both of them) to Rihanna, there are very few performers whose careers haven’t been billed as ‘potentially iconic’ if not already ‘legendary’.

But what does it mean? To be iconic?

One thing, an image or depiction, that represents something else of greater significance through literal or figurative meaning, usually associated with religious, cultural, political, or economic standing.

So, taking the above into consideration, we ask you…

What does it take to be an icon?

And which of today’s stars have it within them to be iconic?


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