Sunday, March 08, 2009

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: U2 sales

With U2's album left gathering dust on shop shelves, despite having been pushed like it was the last whale left in the world that had been found on a beach, who can try and talk the beast up?

This is, clearly, a job for HMV's Commenting Regent, Gennaro Castaldo. Gennaro, can you make disappointing figures sound like a good thing?

"It's doing pretty well, both in Ireland and the UK, at what is traditionally a relatively quiet time of year for music retail," says Gennaro Castaldo, HMV spokesperson. "The key thing about this album is that it will sell consistently throughout the year, especially when the band start performing live in the summer."

... said Gennaro, before stressing that many parts of the egg were, in fact, fine. Still, maybe he's got a point - it'll take a big, eye-catching event to really get the sales going. If only the band had, say, launched the album with a massive campaign all over the BBC topped off with a pointless-but-well-reported performance on the roof of Broadcasting House, why, maybe then the records would be selling.

Actually, Castaldo does have a point - the arse end of winter is a rubbish time to be selling records. It's the sort of time you might launch a record that you were keen to gather coverage when it's not competing with other, more popular discs.

The Irish Independent, who canvassed Castaldo, asked some other people what they thought:
The album shifted almost 65,000 copies on the first day on sale in the UK, but that figure pales when compared with the 133,000 albums shifted by Take That on day one last December, or the 125,000 achieved by Coldplay in June.

"I'm not surprised it's not doing Take That-like figures," says a key industry figure. "Get On Your Boots (the first single from the album) didn't break into the UK top 10 and wasn't perceived as a strong single in the way that Vertigo (the lead single from U2's last album) was. And they're entering an environment where even an act as huge as them aren't immune from the damage of illegal downloads."

It's not doing Take That like figures because, you'd have to say, people love Take That and don't feel the same way about Bono. But blaming the poor sales on "downloading" is just pathetic - even if illegal downloads have hit potential sales, that still wouldn't explain why it's not performing in line with the market. Or is it somehow harder to download Coldplay albums?

1 comment:

James said...

"It's doing pretty well, both in Ireland and the UK, at what is traditionally a relatively quiet time of year for music retail"

What's he trying to say here? That the album sold well considering that, for some unmentioned reason, people just don't usually buy music at this time of year? Across the country, were U2 fans thinking "Blast! The album's out this week, but I can't get it because I never buy music in early March. It's just not the done thing. Now if only it came out three weeks ago when I had 'Buy CD' scheduled in the diary for Sunday, I could've bought it then instead of having to resort to the High School Musical 3 soundtrack..."

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