It’s a stiff.
But wait Bob, media outlets throughout the country are telling us it’s number one!
Yeah, but that’s a manipulated number, based on special packaging, vinyl, even cassettes! This is why the music business gets no respect, because it’s so full of crap. We live in a digital world, one of zeros and ones, but in the music business everything is manipulated, everything is up in the air.
But in the real world…the Billie Eilish audience, the public, just ain’t streaming it.
Let’s go to the ultimate arbiter, the U.S. Spotify Top 50. Eilish only has TWO tracks on the chart. Whereas when Morgan Wallen’s album came out he had TWENTY TWO TRACKS IN THE TOP FIFTY!
And Eilish isn’t even number one!
On the U.S. chart, “Happier Than Ever” is number three. And “NDA” is number forty eight. On the worldwide chart, the two tracks are number six and sixty one respectively, i.e. “NDA” is off the chart.
Anybody in the music business today knows it’s about consumption. And it turns out people don’t want to consume Billie Eilish’s new album. Will this translate to poor ticket sales? Used to always. Today, brand names count and your fans might stick by you, but Eilish has had such a short career!
Turns out Billie Eilish was a moment in time. A mania. Her brother Finneas is uber-talented, but is there really a huge market for Eilish’s breathy vocals? Appears not.
Of course, the label can push. Especially at radio. The majors own radio. And if you have a hit there, streaming numbers go up. But the truth is active consumers stream first, they don’t bother listening to the radio. Come on, when you’re a fan you want the new music NOW!
Meanwhile, the up the ass Grammy organization keeps lauding Eilish because the members are too out of touch and just went for the brand name. Talk about a meaningless award…
And it’s not like anybody’s unaware of Eilish’s new music. God, there’s been a scorched earth publicity campaign. Even a “controversy” with form-fitting clothing and blonde hair. Hell, Eilish was even on the cover of “Vogue”! And all this impresses people in the media business…but the average consumer? Not so much.
We live in a hit and run society. The only thing with guaranteed legs appears to be Marvel movies. And “Star Wars.” When it comes to music, the platform supersedes the tunes. People are fans of TikTok more than any music utilized on the service.
Furthermore, when you square the Spotify Top 50 with the touring numbers… Turns out oldsters and more niche players do better.
So what we’ve got is a completely changed business that no one will acknowledge. The major labels playing it the same way they did back in the last century. It’s about hype and radio play. They talk all about their data, but the end result?
And it’s not like Eilish is a good advertisement for the music business. It’s not like looky-loos, casual fans, will check her out and love her, Eilish is not Adele.
And Eilish seems like a nice person. But she’s been victimized by the machine. At a young age to boot. Talk about missing your childhood… What’s up with these parents who push their kids’ success? And yes, the parents are always behind the effort. I hear from them. They give the kids the green light, they allow them to play the game when they should really stay out of it. Want to succeed in the world today? Go to college. Everybody missing school ends up having a very short career. It’s harder to sustain than to make it. And if you go to school, have experiences, you’ve got more to say.
Now I’ll be inundated with e-mail from everybody involved with Eilish’s career, the manager, the label, providing statistics telling me it’s just not true, that of course I’m wrong. (Never mind the superfans!)
And it’ not completely black and white. They can pump up the album, they can sell tickets. But with established stars, it’s all about the opening weekend. Whereas with unknowns, the build is much much slower.
Billie Eilish is number one because she sold souvenirs. Maybe “Billboard” needs a new chart that reflects this, because selling these tchotchke-laden boxed sets has little to do with the music. Quick, how many of the purchasers of the cassettes have a deck to play them on? Even a CD player?
Just add up the streams.
But then there wouldn’t be much need for “Billboard,” adding its “special sauce”…
And the business would have to confront reality.
The traditional metrics really don’t apply anymore.
But don’t expect the music business to grab on to reality, transparent streaming numbers, anytime soon. Because that would not serve their purposes! AND, if you read the report from England, it turned out the culprit was the major labels, not the streaming companies. Hate on Spotify all you want, the problem is the labels and their crappy deals.
Not that anybody wants the truth. Disinformation in the music sphere is akin to disinformation in the political sphere. And just like people lost faith in the government, they’re losing faith in the music. Music does not drive the culture. Music is not leading the way.
But it could.
“Billie Eilish, 21st-Century Pop Paragon, Hits No. 1 With Big Vinyl Sales ‘Happier Than Ever’ debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 with 54 percent of its total from physical formats.”: https://nyti.ms/3jQ1b3U