Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Brits 2011: Sales figures

Poor Gennaro has had to take to posting his own press releases rather than appearing in papers, times are so hard at HMV.

He's rushed forward to issue some sales figures reacting to the Brits. Here's the methodology used:

The music and entertainment retailer has measured the increased sales since last night on album purchases across its 260 stores nationwide, online via orders through and as downloads via its hmvdigital site - and compared these to sales a week ago last Wednesday 9th February. In this way HMV is able to measure the benefit not just from last night's televised ceremony but also from the promotion and coverage that has built during the past week, which also includes exposure via Sunday night's Grammys.
So, are we getting figures showing the increase in sales "since last night", or since last Wednesday? It turns out its the latter, although there seems something strained in arbitrarily deciding the build-up started last Thursday.
Based on increased demand over the past seven days HMV has seen sales of Mumford and Sons' debut album Sigh No More leap by a massive 594%. Not far behind in second spot are double international winners The Arcade Fire, whose acclaimed album The Suburbs is enjoying a 575% rise in demand. Making up the top 3 is double BRITs winner Tinie Tempah, whose Disc-Overy album is up by 380%, and is no doubt heading back up the official charts to a top 5 placing come this Sunday.
So we're just getting percentages. Which are pretty meaningless in this context - if Mumford and Sons had sold 1,000 copies last week, a 594% sales increase is pretty good. If they sold 2, it's less so. (And, clearly, since there's no suggestion that they're going to be near the top of the charts, we're in the "less so" territory here.)

Having said which...
Laura Marling sees a huge 322% rise in fourth spot, though, admittedly I Speak Because I Can starts from a relatively low sales base
So where did Mumford and Sons start from? Not low enough to comment on?
HMV's Gennaro Castaldo comments: "With their distinctive sound, Mumford and Sons may already be firm favourites with students and with much of Middle England, but this success will now help cement their appeal with an even broader audience. Their album just keeps on selling as the band pick up more and more new fans, and with a substantial post-BRITs bounce still to come, it will now go through the landmark of a million sales, which is remarkable when you think that relatively few people had heard of them this time last year."
I think that translates as "you'd have been hard pressed to have found their records for sale in a branch of HMV this time last year."

The appearance of the phrase "Middle England" completes, I think, the process of draining any interest Mumford And Sons might have had from them.
Gennaro Castaldo adds: "Each year featured BRITs artists always enjoy a huge lift in sales of their recordings - both in the run up the ceremony itself and then immediately after, when media exposure is at its greatest."
In other words: the Brits have a sales effect when they happen. Who'd have thought?
"The biggest gainers tend to be those that give show-stealing performances on the night or who grab the headlines by winning multiple awards"
This is the work of a professional. You or I might have thought that the big sales wins would go to acts who get nominated in one category and lose, or who can just be dimly sighted at the back of the hall watching the proceedings. But, no, Gennaro reveals it's the people who go on the stage who get the glory.
such artists can easily experience a doubling or even a trebling of sales overnight, especially in these days of instant downloads - and we're already seeing notable increases in sales for al [sic] the featured artists, while a further boost generally follows at the weekend when everyone hits the high street.
Yes, Gennaro. On Saturday. When everyone goes to the high street to buy records. In 1982.
"This year there are quite a few new artists who have been recognised, such as Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding and Mumford and Sons...
Ellie Goulding won in 2010.
... and whilst they've sold quite a few albums already, there are plenty of music fans out there that haven't yet got hold of their CD or downloaded tracks, so we're expecting a huge spike in the albums market this week
He's directing these words to the insurance company who underwrites their supplier's stock.
...coming as it does off the back of Valentine's.
Oh, yes. I always buy a couple of extra records to celebrate the end of the week that has Valentine's Day in it. Doesn't everyone?
It will also help that the organisers have placed the 'Best Album' category as the heart of the BRITs this year.
Gennaro desperately hopes that it will make a difference, but the overplaying of the album category reeked of an industry desperately trying to keep its stud mare alive for one more season.


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