It was reported by Billboard magazine yesterday that Mariah Carey is set to open on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart next week at number three with her fourteenth studio album ‘Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse’, if she’s lucky.
The release will mark her lowest ever first week sales of an album in the United States for a non-festive release, as it is expected to sell in the region of 60,000 copies. But how does an artist who has sold over 200 million records in under 25 years manage to have such a weak impact on the buying public. As the music industry has revealed recently, sales are on the up, but not for Carey.
Her last release, ‘Merry Christmas II You’ in 2010, debuted at number four with first sales of 54,000; it went on to sell more than half a million copies in the US, as Christmas albums tend to sell more the closer it gets to Christmas itself. Her 2009 ‘Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel’ debuted at number three with 168,000 copies sold, while 2008’s ‘E=MC²’ gave Carey her sixth number one album selling 463,000 copies, as well as being the biggest opening week sales of her career.
So why has ‘Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse’ failed to create a commercial impact despite the rave reviews and the fact many are calling it her best album this century (she has release six albums since 2001) and her best since ‘Daydream’ (1995) and ‘Butterfly’ (1997).
We know that Carey still has a major influence on the music industry as a global enterprise. People who enter singing competitions such as The Voice, American Idol and The X Factor consistently cite Carey as a major influence, as have many a singer who now compete with her in the charts, such as BeyoncÃƒ©, Christina Aguilera and Ariana Grande, who is dubbed “the new Mariah.”
Just this week, Carey was honoured with the Pop Icon award at the World Music Awards for sales of over 200 million records and female solo artist with the most U.S. number one singles (18). Clearly, her impact, influence and legacy still bares relevance today, despite how much the industry the changed since her debut in 1990.
So, critics love the album, fans love the album, she is one of the highest selling artists in history and she has holds innumerable records, so why is it that only 60,000 American’s bought her album this week? With 1.2 million sales of the lead single ‘#Beautiful’ with Miguel and over 15 million followers on Twitter, surely Carey could boost sales?
The problem is, that despite the push backs and hype, despite the single releases, and despite the personal touch of the artwork and title, Carey has not embarked on any large scale promotional tour of the U.S. She has appeared on Letterman and Today only, and has made no international appearances aside from the World Music Awards this week, where she performed ‘Meteorite.’
Ultimately, this is not Carey’s fault or responsibility. Many think that perhaps the fault lies with her friend, long-time collaborator and manager, Jermaine Dupri. It would be fair to say that there has been not much marketing or promotion of the single releases ‘The Art of Letting Go’ and ‘You’re Mine (Eternal)’, or even the album, and the kind-of-Beyonce-style-release-but-kind-of-not hasn’t helped, either.
Charting looks even worse when looking at the international market, where some music companies have already published their first week positions. ‘Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse’ opened in Ireland at number 19, the Netherlands at number 14 and New Zealand at number 11.
Billboard have also revealed that Carey is not too far from opening at number one in the U.S., as Coldplay are expected to hold onto the number one position with ‘Ghost Stories’ with sales of 80,000 after their debut last week with 383,000, while Brantley Gilbert‘s ‘Just As I Am’ is set to debut with 65,000, just 5,000 more than Carey. However at the start of the week Carey was outselling both.
All is not lost though for her American audience, for Carey has recorded an NBC Special which is due to air in the U.S. tonight which will see her perform new songs from the album. It could very well be the last minute boost she needs to help her achieve the much needed extra sales to better her chart position. That being said, she is pretty much guaranteed to land a number one position on the U.S. Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, as her past three albums have done so. If it does, it will become her seventh number one album on that chart.
Who do you think is responsible for Carey’s lowest opening week sales for a studio album to date? Let us know in the comments!