In 2009, labels still place so much emphasis on first week sales it is insane. Giving up on artists that don’t perform to their standards when they lose a one week competition where they blow their wad to win in some sort of stupid cock spar against the other releases of the week. While this may matter for Top 40 artists it is totally irrelevant for anything outside of established artists. Even if you put out the record of the year and make the Dark Side Of The Moon of our generation, I guarantee you your record sales will not be as good as what your sales will be nine months later when your buzz has really heats up.
Labels go guns blazing trying to promote the record to have a strong first week and then run out of budgets to really promote the record once it has a buzz that starts to build. Take any artist that has emerged to be a major force in the music industry that had huge sales from their debut and show me one of them where the first week sales made a difference. Was Taking Back Sunday’s Tell All Your Friends, Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes or Tegan & Sara’s So Jealous most important week the first week? No it took a while to ramp up the buzz and get these bands established followings, even sometimes a few records.
What we are saying here is let’s get over the idea of promoting a record to death to get that strong first week is so dead in the age of the Internet. Let’s invest in these artists over time and not think about competing with every record that is coming out the same day. It’s the Internet age, the shelf life is as long as you can sustain a buzz for, not the length of time that a CD gets dusty on a shelf.