January has typically been no-man’s land when it comes to the music business. That’s never made much sense to me. I mean, wouldn’t you feel a bit more compulsion to release new music when there are folks running around with gift certificates and gift cards? It’s not like there’s not a precedent for music taking off at the beginning of a year. Way back in 1999, a young girl named Britney Spears released her first album right at the beginning of January, and that album went on to sell some 14 million copies. Not bad, huh?
Hmmm..whatever happened to her, anyway??
Moving right along, here we are in the first week of February, and the past couple of weeks of charts have looked like a hot mess. Not only are sales already behind those in 2007 by something like 10%, but there has not been one major release by a new artist through the whole month. While the chart figures have not reached the level of futility reached last year by the “Dreamgirls” soundtrack, they have come close, with only Radiohead’s 1/1 release marching over the 100,000 scanned mark over the course of January. Alicia Keys and the “Juno” soundtrack have traded places at the top with sales figures between 62,000 and 70,000. Numbers which, back in the heyday of the music industry, would have barely placed in the Top Ten.
Thankfully, the triumverate of Jack Johnson, Sheryl Crow and Lenny Kravitz should give a healthy(er) glow to the first week of charts, with sales kicks also expected later in the month from Valentine’s Day and the Grammy awards.