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“Madonna’s “MDNA” album is dead. It’s really quite amazing. Amazon.com has dropped the price of downloading “MDNA” to five dollars. On iTunes, the only version of the album on the chart is the explicit one, selling for $14.99. It’s at number 46 on their chart. On hitsdailydouble.com, “MDNA” dropped to number 8 from number 1, with an 87% fall off from the previous week.

The amazon.com situation is much worse. As a physical CD, “MDNA” is just gone. (Updated) The actual deluxe CD, has fallen to number 16. It’s the only one of the many versions of “MDNA” that’s selling at all. This is the second week of release. The clean version download — for $5 — is at #733. The dirty one, so to speak, is around 500. “MDNA” is just…gone. It’s a total sales collapse. It makes you wonder, what happened? Of course, Madonna has done very little publicity. And the inflated first week sales–reported here exclusively–are over now as the “bundling” with concert tickets is finished.

But wow. The deluxe version with a special booklet, for sale at $12.99, is showing up on amazon at number 5,706. Five thousand seven hundred and six.

So what did go wrong? The audience wasn’t interested in vituperative songs with the “f” word scattered through them liberally. Instead of dancing, Madonna was cursing. And what does she have to curse about? She’s a gazillionaire. She does whatever she wants, to whomever she wants, whenever she wants. No one stops her. Her charity in Africa was a bust, and the documentary she made about it was ridiculous. She continues to espouse the “philosophy” of the Kabbalah Center. She flaunts lovers half her age. She talks with a haughty accent. Last year, one of her brothers turned up homeless in Michigan. Madonna seemed not to care.” (Forbes)

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Madonna‘s “MDNA” album had the biggest second week drop in chart history last week according to Forbes.

“Wow. The first week’s sales, as I revealed exclusively (and then the New York Post lifted it from us), most of Madonna’s first week sales were CDs that were included in the sale of concert tickets. That promotion artificially inflated Madonna’s numbers, putting her first before Lionel Richie and his “Tuskegee” album. In the second week, Richie fell only 47% and sold about 110,000 albums–which is normal. “Tuskegee” will now finish much higher than “MDNA.” I do think that all the people involved in the Madonna ticket-CD deal should apologize to Richie for denying him his rightful place at number 1, starting with Billboard and SoundScan. But Richie’s consolation is that he has a major hit, while “MDNA” is a total dud. So far, “MDNA” has not produced anything like a hit single either, no radio play or anything to provide organic promotion. But Madonna’s concert tour with Live Nation will be a big hit, so it’s not like we have to worry about her financial situation.”

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Adele is set to sell another 155k CD’s this week and has no signs of slowing down. Adele recently told a magazine that she  never thought her latest CD would have such an impact.

“I was saying, “I don’t think this record is going to do anything. I can’t feel the buzz in America,”‘ she said.

Rob Stringer, CEO of Columbia Records was quite surprised as well.

‘When everybody heard the record, they knew it was special,’ he told the magazine. ‘But not one person could honestly tell you they thought it would sell this many.’

It’s hard to predict the sales of artists today with the changing variables and moving parts.

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Lionel Richie, sold 200,000 copies of his “Tuskegee” album, his best debut in 20 years. Madonna‘s “MDNA” album is expected be the number 1 album in the country this week – the final numbers will come in later today. Unlike Lionel Richie, Madonna will bundle album with ticket sales to lock down the number 1 spot.

It turns out that a hefty number of “MDNA” albums weren’t sold the usual way. Madonna’s label, Interscope, and Live Nation, which owns Ticketmaster, bundled the album with her ticket sales. For every ticket sold online to Madonna’s upcoming shows, purchasers automatically receive a copy of “MDNA.”  They get a link to a free purchase on ITunes, or they can send in their mailing address for a physical CD. It doesn’t matter if the concert ticket is $52 or $350. It’s a smart marketing move for Interscope. It unnaturally inflates sales, and uses “MDNA” for what albums have become–souvenirs, or loss leaders. (Forbes)

Is it fair to artists on the chart who didn’t “bundle”?

Last year, retailers and others objected when amazon.com did a 99 cent promotion with Lady Gaga for her “Born this Way” album. But Interscope (again Interscope) sold their bulk of CDs in first two weeks. The amazon promotion inflated Gaga’s sales by 440,000 copies to 1.1 million. And then sales tapered off. The Richie album, by the way, is “hot.” So the real test will be whether “MDNA” has legs beyond the promotion.

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The New Yorker published an article titled ‘The Song Machine, The hit makers behind Rihanna’.

Most of the songs played on Top Forty radio are collaborations between producers like Stargate and “top line” writers like Ester Dean who has written smash hooks for Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.

Ester Dean has a genius for infectious hooks.

Among Dean’s best hooks are her three Rihanna smashes—“Rude Boy” (“Come on, rude boy, boy, can you get it up / Come on, rude boy, boy, is you big enough?”), “S&M” (“Na-na-na-na COME ON”), and “What’s My Name” (“Oh, na-na, what’s my name?”), all with backing tracks by Stargate—and her work on two Nicki Minaj smashes, “Super Bass” (“Boom, badoom, boom / boom, badoom, boom / bass / yeah, that’s that super bass”) and David Guetta’s “Turn Me On” (“Make me come alive, come on and turn me on”).

Things slowed down when people got fed up with Stargate’s sound..

In 2004, things suddenly slowed down for Stargate in the U.K. “People got fed up with Stargate’s sound—things change fast in the music business—and there was no work,” Eriksen told me. “We were sitting back in Norway wondering, What do we do now? Should we shut it down? Our manager, Tim, said, ‘Let’s just go to New York, book a studio, and give it a shot there.’ We didn’t have much money left, but we paid for the trip. No one here knew who we were. We had a few sessions with writers, but nothing substantial. Our goal was to sell one song, and we did, we sold one, so we came back for one more week of sessions, and then we were going to call it quits.”

Today, hit songs are mainly composed by 3 people and it must contain hook after hook.

The producers compose the chord progressions, program the beats, and arrange the “synths,” or computer-made instrumental sounds; the top-liners come up with primary melodies, lyrics, and the all-important hooks, the ear-friendly musical phrases that lock you into the song. “It’s not enough to have one hook anymore,” Jay Brown, the president of Roc Nation, and Dean’s manager, told me recently. “You’ve got to have a hook in the intro, a hook in the pre-chorus, a hook in the chorus, and a hook in the bridge.” The reason, he explained, is that “people on average give a song seven seconds on the radio before they change the channel, and you got to hook them.

Read the rest of the article here

 

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