Reggae album sales plummett
Published: Sunday | November 15, 2009
Sean Paul (left) and Jah Cure (right)
IT has not been a good year for Jamaican pop music. Sales tracker, SoundScan, reports that music buyers in the United States showed little interest in what Jamaican artistes had to offer in 2009.
SoundScan has released sales figures to the end of October. It said, collectively, reggae/dancehall music sold just 502,171 units for the first 10 months of the year.
Leading the way was Sean Paul's Imperial Blaze album with sales of 70,917.
That is a massive drop from sales of The Trinity, his previous album, which sold over three million copies.
The Trinity spawned the hit singles Temperature and We Be Burnin'. It was a strong follow-up to 2002's Dutty Rock which sold more than five million units.
SoundScan is an electronic network that collects sales data from over 17,000 record stores in the United States. Its data is widely used by publications, such as Billboard magazine.
Another disappointing album was Light, from Jewish dancehall rapper Matisyahu whose previous effort, Youth, was a platinum (over one million units) seller. It sold a mere 58,698 copies three months after it hit record stores.
B Is For Bob, a children's album of remastered Bob Marley songs, fared well for that market with 35,760 copies. Ziggy Marley, the man behind that project, saw his Family Time set clocking 36,152 copies.
Brother Julian Marley's Awake, which was recently released, has not done well. It has sold almost 9,000 copies.
VP Records' annual Reggae Gold compilation, continued its consistent performance with 18,949 copies.
In contrast, some of the acts VP banked on this year, folded. Chief among them was singer Tarrus Riley and deejay Mavado whose Contagious and Mr Brooks: A Better Tomorrow had dismal returns at 4,736 and 14,000, respectively.
Queen Ifrica's highly-touted Montego Bay, released in the summer by VP, has so far sold a mere 2,726 copies. One Moment In Time by Beres Hammond, another project from the Queens, New York label, barely passed the 11,000 mark.
Jah Cure's Universal Cure also held great expectations, but flopped with sales of 5,319 copies. Rasta Got Soul by Buju Banton fared slightly better with sales of over 8,000.
less hyped projects
Interestingly, less hyped projects did well. Bright Side by Californian band Rebelution sold 20,311 copies; Above The Bones from Bermudan/Canadian singer Mishka sold 14,091 and Vibes by Jamaica-born rapper Heavy D, just got over the 10,000 figure.
'Best of albums' had 'so-so' performances. The Very Best of Sizzla (10,000) was the best of the Jamaican offerings; only 8,845 persons bought Shaggy's Boombastic Collection while UB40's Greatest Hits sold 26,323.
A big surprise was Tanya Stephens' The Hits Collection with a paltry 864 copies sold.