Bruno Mars Scores First #1 Album After Cutting Price To $1.99 – And Why We Approve

Published: Thursday 7th Mar 2013 by Sam

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.

Your thoughts?

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  1. L21480 March 7, 2013

    Don’t try to spin this to sound less sad than it is. This is as pathetic a move as Gaga and Rihanna doing essentially the same thing. And they wonder why the music industry is dying. They’re sacraficing profit for the vanity of being able to claim “#1”. Even if the super low price spiked sales, I doubt it generated a real profit last week. Sad. It’s like doing body work on a car that has a busted engine. All for show.

    • Mark111 March 7, 2013

      Who gives a s***! It’s a great album and it was $1.99, why are you bitching? I think albums today should be no more then $7.99 or $5.00 anyway. Plus, like Gaga, AMAZON had a promation, not sure about Mars, but Gaga got her money cause amazon used her album to promote their cloud service, I think they spent like 3 million on the difference, but hey,m promo isn’t cheap.

  2. Peter March 7, 2013

    Best Male Singer of this generation!!

    • KIA112 March 7, 2013

      Since this generation ain’t s***, that’s real no big kudos. But whatever.

      • Barbara Ruiz June 8, 2013

        Really? Adam Lambert can out sing Bruno day and night. Lambert is this generations best vocalist without any other male even close. Bruno knows he can’t compete on the same stage as Adam and backed out when they were both supposed to be at the same Jingle Ball.

    • Hateretha March 7, 2013

      Not my generation.

  3. Tootie March 7, 2013

    Bruno mars is NOT underrated! His debut album went 2x platinum in the states and I can only imagine how much it sold WW. He’s had multiple platinum singles. If this were any other act y’all would’ve shaded them.

  4. JER March 7, 2013

    The haves and have-nots. What’s good for your fave isn’t good for anyone else.

    This is TEXTBOOK reaching.

    You tried in every colour and ever language.

  5. Eye Candy March 7, 2013

    If this was anyone else, y’all would’ve thrown all sorts of shade. You can’t say it’s bad when Rihanna does it while it’s ok that Bruno Mars does it. Be real, it’s pathetic in all cases.

    • Ugh March 7, 2013

      but this guy is talented and doesn’t sell s**. he’s also no where near being a flop

      • JER March 7, 2013

        “Your s** takes me to paradise”

    • Common Sense March 7, 2013

      I must stay consistent, so yes this post reeks of desperation and reaching. I would have bashed Rihanna for being a desperate h** and so I must now also do the same for Bruno, despite him actually being talented.
      A #1 album doesn’t mean s*** when it’s being given away.

  6. ANDY March 7, 2013

    B**** PLEASE!!!

    Sam & TGJ really consider themselves musicologists don’t they. What do ya’ll really know about sales and such. STFU & stick to writing (OBSESSING) about Beyonce and Rihanna.

    Anyway – These, so-called, “Pop-Megastars” of this generation are completely MEDIOCRE when it comes to sales, artistic merit, everything…….

    He and his Marketing/P.R team etc… cut the price so that he could enjoy a #1 album. Simple. NOTHING MORE/NOTHING LESS. And seeing that no #1 album on the BB200 album has surpassed 75k for the past 3 weeks, it just goes to show the state of the current music industry to be honest.

    And di someone just say that Bruno Mars is the “BEST MALE” singer of this generation? LMAO. I F****** CANNOT.


    • sierra March 7, 2013



    • B. Hill March 7, 2013

      Please post more! 😀

  7. Aryo March 7, 2013

    Omg i hate this ugly c*** so much.
    Hes only famous bcuz of travie mcCoy

    • Hooligan July 31, 2013

      that is NOT true! He struggled for 7 years just to get where he is. And you’re obviously just jealous because he has more fame and more money then you’ll ever have. And just because he’s famous doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be offended by what you said.

  8. Aryo March 7, 2013

    Hes so overrated i hope he overdoses on all the drugs he takes

    • Hooligan July 31, 2013

      THATS F****** AWFUL! Bruno is a human being just like us! People like YOU are the reason celebrities commit s****** and do drugs. Putting people down like that won’t put you on top. It makes you look like a c***.

  9. Lovebird (Beyonce’s Weave) March 7, 2013

    I love love love Bruno Mars, he’s an amazing song writer and has got an amazing pitch to his voice. He’s so addictive, I can listen to him all day. Anyway, congrats to Bruno Mars, he didn’t need to slash the price though, the album is doing very well and selling well.

    Oh and congrats to Rihanna too, unapologetic is strong at #9 and Stay has climbed back up to #5


  10. King B>Rihanna March 7, 2013

    Yes for my boo Bruno Mars.

  11. CzarM March 7, 2013

    Don’t even try it Sam.

    Having to slash the price of an album down to virtually nothing to get it to sell is not some clever and strategic marketing move, but rather a desperate ploy to save face for a project that isn’t performing to prior expectation. Not only is it embarrassing for all involved, but it’s also something that people notice and tend to not forget. Two years later, people are still giving sideeyes to Gaga for the 99cent thing.

    If at standard price, Bruno Mars’s album was moving units at a rate that his label was satisfied with, and making a healthy profit from, they wouldn’t have dared lowered it just so that they could nab a number one chart position. So my guess is that they did this because they saw that the longterm sales trajectory for it wasn’t looking too optimistic.

    And you’d have to be naive to think that they can turn a sale boost from an obscenely low price slash into a hot commodity. Once you start giving something away for next to nothing, you basically have to keep it at a low price to keep the public interested in it. If they attempt to raise the price on this album back to normal, he’ll see a steep sales falloff. So in the end, what’s 2 million units sold if no profit was turned and/or they wind up in the red? That’s stupid.

    Stunts like this just keep artists in debt and contractual hell to their labels, and are the reason for things like “360” deals these days.

    • kim March 7, 2013

      And then pl come on here and boast about sales. Obviously sales will increase but where is the damn profit? Smh. I never see the reason to lower album prices as soon as it is released. Atleast wait over a yr or two. The music industry is f***** up

    • JOHNVIDAL March 7, 2013

      Sorry but if Bruno´s label is not making money with his album I don´t know what album is making it. Bruno´s album is a success all over the world and it´s almost platinum in the USA. No album sells more than that nowadays except for Taylor Swift in the USA

      • Common Sense March 7, 2013

        F****** tragedy that that skinny little tramp is selling the way she is with her garbage music. Bunch of hicks with no clue buying that s***.

  12. Garrett March 7, 2013

    If Rihanna did the same thing you guys would be bitching like crazy

    • kim March 7, 2013

      She does it all the time. Talk that talk was 2.97 after 3 mnths released. No artist gets a pass for that mess. Sorry.

  13. Mother Mariah March 7, 2013

    I’m here for Bruno, but this is just DESPERATE!

    • Hooligan July 31, 2013

      Think about it. It’s probably not his fault. It’s the label’s fault.

  14. @4everBrandyFan March 7, 2013

    Well You’r Right.. About Two Eleven and #Lotus So Underrated..! Still Wishing them Luck..
    #twoEleven- Brandy is just Perfect..
    Go Buy

  15. JOHNVIDAL March 7, 2013

    I´m not mad at all
    He was going platinum anyway in a month. He has been the most consistent seller from the albums released in November-December, always in the top 10 for 3 months
    And as long as they do this with talented artists I don´t mind at all. People are interested in his album, if not he wouldn´t be selling almost 100,000 in a week after 3 months, not even with this special discount.
    And people need to chill with all these discounts thing, I´m sure all of our faves have benefited from this, if not in the first week-month, in the next few months like this Bruno Mars thing for damn sure. It has always existed. This doesn´t scream desperate at all to me. There are few cases that clearly are, but not this one

    • Dax March 7, 2013

      “People are interested in his album, if not he wouldn´t be selling almost 100,000 in a week after 3 months, not even with this special discount.”

      Why wouldn’t a freaking $1.99 markdown spike his sales this way? They’re giving it away for next to nothing and are basically pandering to people who only kinda-sorta like his music but weren’t pressed on buying it before by pricing it at something that makes them say “Oh. What the hell…add to cart…”. Real talk… being at the peak that he is now, he should have sold WAY more than the 95k he did with that kind of markdown. His sales should have spiked to at least 200k.

      I see that its hard for some of his defenders to accept that in the grand scheme of things Bruno is really no more genuine than any other pop act of the moment who pads their success with these kinds of manipulative stunts. Talented artists don’t get more of a pass for schemes and market manipulation.

      • JOHNVIDAL March 8, 2013

        Get over it hun. This is Amazon or whatever digital retailer, not Bruno asking for it. And when did anyone say he is more genuine than others? This is the music industry, and labels-retailers-business men are not here to be genuine, we all know it. Artists are the ones we should blame the less to be honest
        I´ve read in other blog (usually with better info than TGJ) that from this 95,000 he still sold almost 50,000 full price, just like he was doing any other week for the last 3 months, he was going platinum in a couple of weeks whether you like it or not. And of course he is not pulling an Adele, who said that? But he is one of the best sellers since he debuted

  16. Vandrea March 7, 2013

    This reads like DAMAGE CONTROL for an album that probably wasn’t doing the numbers that they wanted. I can’t wrap my head around selling a whole album at $1.99. I’ve bought singles that cost more than that. I also agree that if this were someone on TGJ’s s*** list, the tone of this article would be entirely different.

  17. DSTROCK March 7, 2013

    But if you’re selling your album for dirt cheap, then how much money is the label/artist actually making off of it? Platinum means nothing if it’s not accompanied by actual income. And this “#1 hype” still doesn’t mean squat if they go back to selling it for $3.49! Sure you can say you have a #1 a;bum, but at the end of the day that doesn’t change the quality of music or the income that a label/artist could be using to budget future tours/projects.

    • princess March 7, 2013

      I agree that a chart position on BIllboard is irrelevant these days.

      the only charts that matter now are itunes charts. lol

      an artist can still sell out tour dates without doing well on billboard.. See Jill Scott ( arena tour but only 350,00 albums sold). It is all about touring these days.

      BTW – AMAZON is payig the rest of the cost for the CD after price slash so Warner Records & Bruno will still make their money.

      this is a promo deal with Amazon. GaGa did the same thing.

  18. Avi March 7, 2013

    Swing and a miss. Lol
    Y’all can’t dress this desperation up or play it down.
    Just like lipstick on a p** doesn’t stop a p** from being a p**…
    a savage markdown doesn’t stop a flop cd from being a flop.

    Bruno’s number 1 chart position is made of kaka.

  19. Truth March 7, 2013

    So basically Sam is all about perception instead of reality. In reality a “#1 album” that got there from being priced this low is a staged accomplishment and not a real indicator of success. Bruno better lace up his touring boots because he’s not making a dime from these kind of “sales”. He’s gonna wind up oweing his record company money if they insist on pricing his music so cheap that it doesn’t net a real surpluse!

  20. Mark111 March 7, 2013

    Who gives a s***! It’s a great album and it was $1.99, why are you bitching? I think albums today should be no more then $7.99 or $5.00 anyway. Plus, like Gaga, AMAZON had a promation, not sure about Mars, but Gaga got her money cause amazon used her album to promote their cloud service, I think they spent like 3 million on the difference, but hey,m promo isn’t cheap.

    With that said, this is pretty smart. He already has two top tens at the same time, now a top album just in time for his tour. For once, I agree with Sam, it’s promo for his tour, you know, where the money is really at. What you think Madonna’s albums are? Just tour promo, but Mars has a great album, very 80’s. I see grammys for him next year.

  21. Queen Navy March 7, 2013

    #ICANT at the bogus and hypocritical spin. Let’s cut the BS and keep it all the way real! If this was Rihanna or Kim or Trey or Madonna or anybody Sam has a history of bitterly shading for just wearing the wrong hat, he would be screaming WITCH at their album leaping to number one after being sold for this cheap. He’d be dramatically shading them for resorting to this and reinforcing what a “flop” it actually was. Sometimes I just gotta laugh at the bias of this blog. It’s moving past the point of being infuriating and is now becoming comical and not worth getting mad at.

    • La Perra March 7, 2013

      He must of agreed to to an interview with you or something. Cause ya praise certain BS and try and put down those that dont want crap to do with this website. lol

  22. butterfly March 7, 2013

    Cut the b*******. This is a desperate move to sell more, and it’s sad that this is happening to the music industry. If an artist like Rihanna, Usher, and Alicia Keys did this, you would be shading the hell out of them, but since it’s Bruno Mars it’s okay? All for being #1?

  23. MsThing485 March 7, 2013

    I’m a believer of “you get what you pay for,” so I’m suspicious of the qualiity of an artist/album discounted for this low. To me that’s them literally begging people to buy it, while essentially saying “hey, even if you don’t like it, you got it for next to nothing, so no harm done.” Is THAT the message you’d want to send for an artist who you deem as being ‘talented’ and whose music you’d consider ‘worthy?’

    If Bruno’s album is as good as some say, then he should be able to move substantial units w/o having to resort to sales stunts like this. It’s very desperate-seeming, and sends all kinds of red alerts that something might not be right with it.

  24. Triple Threat March 7, 2013

    He’s Bruno Mars. of COURSE He’s going to go platinum. He didn’t need to do this.

  25. mob March 7, 2013

    Bruno and that AFRO looks scary as hell! Funny how th emedia has been pushing him more and more in the “Urban/R&B” categoy lately!!

    These PR and music industry hype games are distorting what’s really going on in the industry today.

  26. Theman March 7, 2013

    Lol be quiet, this album was going above platinum anyway. This was amazons idea. Bruno’s album was already selling well.

  27. S****** Blonde March 7, 2013

    I’m very dissapointed because this is so low, i like him but i don’t see the point in embarrass yourself with things like this, remember the REDUCTIVE 99 cents of Lady Gaga, yeah, exactly what i thought so, is something embarrassing for an artist that is supposed to do big numbers at their peak.

    And as long as they do this with talented artists I don´t mind at all.

    Man, you must be obsessed with talent, everytime you talk about people just for their talent is pathetic, this is pathetic, do you really care if these rich people are talented or not?…i mean, you know that if any other artist that has no talent, you will be here dragging their name, hell, i bet that if Justin Timberlake do this, you will give him heat just for that because your TALENTED ARTISTS make no wrong because they have TALENT.

    • JOHNVIDAL March 8, 2013

      I think you still don´t realize this is about the digital retailers, not the labels-artists. Bruno didn´t decide to low the price and he certainly didn´t need it, since he was going platinum anyway in a couple of weeks more. His album is the best seller of the last 2-3 months
      With Gaga it happened the same, it was not her, enough with that, she still sold 700,000 full price, and the additional 400,000 first week with the discount just showed people were interested. Ask Rihanna, everytime she benefits from a discount there´s not huge demand anyway (biggest proof of all is the less than 200,000 copies she sold first week with Rated R including the copies she sold with the discount lol)
      Anyway, I don´t get your point. Why shouldn´t I support talent and base my opinions on talent? Isn´t that what music is about? Oh yeah I fogot you prefer superficial stuff and fake icons the media can´t stop talking about even if they are a joke

  28. Ryan March 7, 2013

    Are you kidding me TGJ???? You approve of this? Lets just say this was rihanna who decided to sell unapologetic for 1.99 you would go crazy and bash her saying she’s “cheap” untalented” while Bruno mars is a genius?! You are such a hypocritical asshole who shouldn’t be in the industry if you only write nice articles about who you like and don’t

  29. POP ROYALTY ( RUDE BOY) March 7, 2013

    If U want it , Let’s Do it , Ride It , My Pooony !!

  30. RoyalKev March 7, 2013

    I’m not against musical acts benefiting from adjusted album sales, but I think there should be certain limitations on how everything may be recognized. At the end of the day the cuts may help labels see the profit needed to keep these artists on board, but these artists with marked down albums should not be entitled to the same privileges that other singers have(selling albums under regular conditions). This goes for your favs and mine!

    Why should artist A & B have to sell 300 – 400K albums @ $9.99 – $12.99, earning them a #1 album, while artist C sells 80K albums @ $1.99 accomplishing that same feat?! I’m sorry, I don’t know how it may need to be distinguished, but artists with marked down albums should be forced to sell 200K in order for their #1 album to carry the same weight that an artist achieving this under regular circumstances would.

  31. DTG March 7, 2013

    LOL@”genius” and “savvy.” More like pathetic and hopeless. It’s no compliment to the artist when a subtantial amount of their sales come by way of their whole album being discounted to the price of a candy bar. Consumers are basically sending the message that they don’t deem such artists music worth spending more than quarters on. I don’t know how this gets spun into generating “organic” hype. That’s more stigmatizing than anything.

  32. CHUDDS March 7, 2013

    Not like Bruno NEEDED the discount. His album was selling well anyway. BTW: I love the album. I can’t wait to see him live in June! 🙂

  33. crapolas March 16, 2013

    And then one week after, he sells 51,200 at regular price. Two weeks from now, he is suggested to sell 40-45,000 at regular price. What staying power!

    As for those of you who thought of “desperate”, you’re all sounding like stupid fools.

    There is still demand, so either live with it or stay pressed.

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