Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: X Factor sells records

The Guardian investigates if The X Factor is killing music, and naturally, a call to HMV's Factor factotum is required:

In a further innovation this year, the Sunday results show has been built around other artists promoting their own singles, leading to a previously unforeseen scale of chart dominance. "In an age when there are very few truly mass-audience platforms left, the X Factor has become pivotal for those labels and artists seeking to reach a family-based audience," says Gennaro Castaldo of HMV, one of the few music retailers that retains a high-street presence. "As soon as an artist goes on, almost overnight we tend to see a huge surge in demand for their single or album, initially via downloads, but then over the course of the following week via physical CD sales instore and online."

Album sales, he says, "can double or treble or increase by even more, so much so that a good chunk of our marketing and planning at this time of year tends to revolve around the show now".

An ingenue might ask why, if the presence of the band on the show is enough to drive all these sales, HMV are wasting their time on further promotion rather than helping something that might need a bit more of a leg-up. But then we're not in charge of a store which is just coming to the end of having its growth figures boosted by the closure of two major competitors.