Chinese Democracy Sales are Slow

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Guns N’ Roses long-awaited album Chinese Democracy seemed to have plenty of momentum behind it before it hit shelves last month. Not only did it revive every dormant GNR fan holding out for Axl Rose’s supposed masterpiece 17 years in the making, but in the months leading up to its release, the album created a wealth of blog buzz with Federal arrests, unexpected Dr. Pepper give-aways and Best Buy’s exclusive retail rights. For many, this has been the year’s most prolific piece of music news.

Guns N’ Roses long-awaited album Chinese Democracy seemed to have plenty of momentum behind it before it hit shelves last month. Not only did it revive every dormant GNR fan holding out for Axl Rose’s supposed masterpiece 17 years in the making, but in the months leading up to its release, the album created a wealth of blog buzz with Federal arrests, unexpected Dr. Pepper give-aways and Best Buy’s exclusive retail rights. For many, this has been the year’s most prolific piece of music news.

After 1.3 million copies filled up every Best Buy CD rack on November 23, however, the tale has taken a bitter turn. During its first two weeks, Nielsen SoundScan reports that only 318,000 units had been sold, including a promising third-place slot on the Billboard charts during its opening week with a 78 percent fall in sales the following week. Compare that to AC/DC’s comeback album Black Ice that has seen 1.6 million records sold in the U.S. alone, with 6 million distributed worldwide, and it’s all too apparent that “record of the year” predictions for Democracy were but lofty assumptions.

Blame it on Axl Rose’s refusal to take interviews, or delaying a music video to lend a helping hand to promotions. Or blame it on lazy marketing that chose only an Exotic Dancer magazine compilation CD to hype the album, instead of the cross-promotional frenzy by Wal-Mart for AC/DC that includes t-shirts and Rock Band play stations.

Or perhaps the finger can be wagged at the fact that, at every turn, this album has hit drastic road bumps that cast a cynical shadow. For all the hype, maybe any kind of press isn’t good press after all.


4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Virginia’s Crooked Road Project Still Going Strong

Interview: Little Joy, Part 2