March 17, 2005



I am glad Jessica sent me this. I am so tired I can't actually read, so I hope this isn't in Urdu or something:

"What I know about the SoundScan sheets: usually it's a tour manager doing it. You have to have it signed by three people total, including the club manager, a band member and whoever does the merch, or the manager. Every band I know that actually cared was dilgent as hell. If you do not care, you underestimate it, but the bands that actually do SoundScanning at shows are the ones who are only marginally impacted by it: i.e., Death Cab and Postal Service and Modest Mouse are playing to a few thousand people a night, and those kids all already have the records (from Hot Topic and national chains), and thusly, popular bands mostly just sell t-shirts, with some exception for MM because they have a big back catalog on less distro'd labels (though they now have stocked sections at Virgin and Tower and the like with all those bad EPs on K from like, 1997).

There was a big scandal 2 years ago with a couple smaller emo/indie bands falsifying their SoundScanning sheets, and so they were stricken entirely from SoundScan because they (SS) check the numbers against your album-pressing numbers and against Pollstar info about show attendance.

Also, curiously enough, pop punk emo bands have started doing two things: 1. Bring in a "weighted" mom & pop SoundScan store (indies where it counts 4 or 10 to 1 on every sale to "balance out" missed sales on not reporting stores) to set up a "store" at the show, and do all merch sales, plus do a big initial order to cover the release, something usually only done in the first 2 weeks of release in order to buoy SS and early ship numbers, which, in turn, is the best way to get into Best Buy and national chain stores. This was a practice popularized by Vagrant records. Last year, some moderately popular pop punk band included record purchase along with ticket price, so everyone who came to the shows on the entire tour that bought a ticket also bought an album in tandem, and so their SoundScan numbers were around 8,000 a week just based on concert attendance. People are really learning how to manipulate the racket right back.*

Most of these bands are on major label records, and have e-z distribution and high profiles; people are buying those records at Coconuts and Sam Goody, which are 1-1 ratio SoundScan reporters, meaning their data are likely to be accurate. Death Cab might be the only one off base because they are a for-real-yo indie, and this was their first break out album as far as sales. My question is this: who the fuck is buying all those Donnas records?"

* Ed.: This is how Prince got Musicology into the Top 10, and to gold. (Platinum?)

Posted by Sasha at March 17, 2005 06:14 PM | TrackBack