Wow. Madonna’s critics really have their knives out this week. But she might end up having the last laugh.
As you might have heard, sales of her latest album, MDNA, suffered the biggest second-week drop in chart history. Since the news broke, the highly regarded Lefsetz Letter has stated bluntly that Madonna has lost touch with her audience. Forbes contributor Roger Friedman blames Madonna for creating boring songs and not caring. The problem is that her naysayers are measuring the wrong metric. Especially for multi-media brands like Madonna, sales of compact discs don’t count for much anymore – and haven’t for about 10 years. The real action for the Madonnas, U2s, and Bruce Springsteens of the world comes from sales of tickets and merchandise. We won’t be able to assess the health of the Madonna brand until the sales results are known for her 2012 World Tour, which begins on May 29 in Israel and comes to North America on August 28. So far, reports of preliminary ticket sales have been largely positive, but it’s best to wait until actual revenues are reported.
Ironically, MDNA was engineered to realize a sales drop – certainly not to the magnitude that Madonna probably expected, but a drop was indeed part of the plan. As Billboard reported, “MDNA’s” large fall was expected, as its debut was bolstered by sales gained from a concert ticket/album promotion as well as pre-orders from iTunes.” In other words, the CD supports the tour, not the other way around — a strategy that makes perfect business sense for a well established act.
By the way, do you know who previously held the record for the biggest second-week sales drop in history?
Someone by the name of Lady Gaga for Born This Way.