Sunday, June 06, 2004

YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE HOW HARD I GOT IT: A searing investigation into why pop stars fuck up, Help me, I'm a pop star contains a curious nugget of information - of the 12,465 debut releases in the US last year, only 21 recouped their budgets. Sydney based music industry analyst Phil Tripp attempts to contextualise this by saying "last year in America, 24 people were killed by lightning" - but this is a rubbish comparison; he's clearly trying to suggest that having an album that recoups is even less likely than being smote by lightning, but 24 people out of the entire population of America is a much, much lower incidence than 21 out of 12,465. In addition, of course, much of the wasted budget would have been pissed up against a wall by the clueless marketing departments of the music companies; and while being hit by lightning tends to give you an instant result, debut albums have much more than a twelve month period to make their money in. We've heard rumours that The Beatle's debut is still making money.

1 comment:

Mike B. said...

Well, it depends on how you defined "recouped." If you define it as "made enough in artist royalties to recoup the costs and make the artists payable," then I'll buy the 21, because by that scheme you make around US$1.15 on each unit sold. But if you mean "had a positive net revenue," i.e. the money made from selling the damn thing was more than you spent recording, manufacturing, distributing, and marketing it, then I call bullshit. You make US$9-11 an album after manufacturing costs, and so if you spent US$30k in marketing costs and US$50k in marketing (common for a low-profile debut album) you only need to sell 9k records to make a profit, and there have to have been more releases that did this. Of course, the higher-profile releases that cost US$200k to make and US$1m to market, well, yes, then you need to sell around 140k, which is harder. But still pretty damn possible. How many albums went gold? Guaranteed, ALL of these recouped under the second scheme.

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