Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Meanwhile, in Democratic China...

By Evan Rytlewski
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...things aren't good. At all. The most anticipated album of all time has turned out to be more of a commercial bomb than even the most cynical predicted.

Best Buy bought exclusive rights to distribute the album, but of the 1.3 million copies the chain purchased to sell in America, it's only moved 318,000, and sales are cooling exponentially.

Axl's inability to do any coherent press for the album (or even film a video for it) is certainly a cause, and the cold reviews didn't help any. But I'll bet the absurd, Best Buy-only distribution deal was the kiss of death.Without iTunes, Amazon, other big-box outlets or small record stores moving the product, how many copies of Chinese Democracy did they really expect to sell?

The Wall Street Journal article weights Chinese Democracy against the far more successful Wal-Mart only AC/DC album, Black Ice, but it isn't even a fair comparison. For better or worse, people actually shop at Wal-Mart, where a heavily promoted CD makes for a fine impulse buy. But Best Buy simple isn't the same weekly destination for most shoppers.

It'd be like making the new Kanye West album a Radio Shack exclusive. It's going to hurt sales.

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