How 'Glee' Is Kicking Butt on Top of the Charts
By Jo Piazza Posted Jun 20th 2010 09:00AM
There's just no stopping the success of the 'Glee' albums! The show's latest set, 'Journey to Regionals,' edged out 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' soundtrack by 8,000 copies on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. Gleeks: 1 Twi-hards: 0. Oh yeah, they also beat out Christina Aguilera and a little-known tween whose name rhymes with Dweeber.
It's hard to believe it has been less than a year since we were first introduced to the wonder that is 'Glee,' and there is little doubt in my mind that album sales from the show's soundtracks will continue to steamroll their way over more well-known, but growing stale, artists and franchises.
Since the first 'Glee' album, 'Glee The Music: Volume 1,' and through the release of two more soundtracks and two EPs, more than 7.4 million 'Glee' songs have been downloaded in digital format, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
And in a world where actual album sales have been stagnant, the five albums have sold a combined 1.8 million copies.
To put that in perspective, Lady Antebellum's 'Need You Now' has been the top-selling album so far this year with sales of 2.3 million. Only about four artists in any calendar year will sell more than a million albums.
"The complete album package is irresistible to 'Glee' fans because it is nothing but hits," explains Keith Caulfield, Billboard senior chart manager and analyst. "You see the songs performed and you know you will like the album as opposed to buying a new album where the consumer is taking a chance with their dollar on something they might not entirely enjoy."
The 'Eclipse' soundtrack debuted at number two on the Billboard chart, selling 144,000 copies. But Caulfield warns that 'Glee' had the advantage this week since 'Eclipse' has yet to be released in theaters.
"Once the film comes out, it will certainly help to propel album sales. People will hear the songs in the film and will want to experience them on the album," Caulfield explains.
But experts say that even after the film's release, 'Eclipse' is unlikely to beat out the feel good 'Journey to Regionals.'
Now, it may seem like these 'Glee' albums are a cash cow, and obviously they are, but it costs more to produce a 'Glee' album than you may think.
While on the surface it may look like a lot of covers thrown together, it actually costs a lot of money to get access to those songs. There are publisher's fees and royalties (god bless the artists whose songs land on those albums, ka-ching!). Even though these aren't original songs, they still require the expertise of a competent producer. Additionally, they have to pay all of the performers.
Still, it is cheaper than producing an album of original material with a well-known star any day of the week.
So cheers to those fine folks at 'Glee' for figuring out how to beat the slow death of the recording industry at its own game!
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