The busiest, most lucrative time of the year has arrived for the music industry – the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter is a big deal because it encompasses the holiday season, and what better than the gift of music, right? The Wire has a fantastic prediction post that everyone should check out that inspired my own post of similar topic. My list features 14 albums and my personal opinion on how they MIGHT perform on the charts based upon the current climate of the music industry and past sales. There are plenty of links to past articles discussing how previous efforts performed. #Leggo!
1) Chris Brown, X (RCA, 9/16)
Prediction: Brown shouldn’t expect much from X for several reasons. One reason is because albums that have been constantly delayed suffer from a loss of anticipation. Also, there is the notion that because the album has been delayed, the artist didn’t think it was good enough to release and constant revisions had to take place to make it ago. Brown might open >100,000 as he did with previous albums, or he might find himself underperforming, selling below 100,000 copies. This one is sort of hard to pinpoint for sure, but Fortune only moved 134,000 copies in 2012. It’s hard to imagine Brown pulling in F.A.M.E. numbers (270,000 copies), let alone Exclusive ones (294,000 copies).
2) Barbra Streisand, Partners (Columbia, 9/16)
Prediction: Vocal albums tend to do relatively well, and Streisand has managed to maintain a solid following. That said, the star-studded Partners has the propensity to be huge hit (it’s Streisand’s first proper new studio album since 2011 effort What Matters Most), but ‘huge’ has been pretty subdued for most of 2014. Being realistic, Streisand will likely sell below 100,000 copies too.
3) Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek (Columbia/ Interscope, etc. 9/23)
Prediction: Remember how the aforementioned blurb stated, “vocal albums tend to do relatively well?” Well, this might be the one that could excel. Bennett’s albums have sold particularly well, namely Duets II, which debuted at #1. Obviously, Gaga has been very successful, though ARTPOP didn’t have the same success of previous albums (258,000 copies sold its first week compared to the 1.1 million Born This Way sold). Still, Cheek to Cheek should easily sell over 100,000 copies, possibly closer to the 200,000+ copies mark Duets reached years ago (NOTE: Duets II debuted at #1, but sold 179,000 copies).
4) Jennifer Hudson, JHUD (RCA, 9/23)
Prediction: I love Jennifer Hudson. However, JHUD is lacking in a big-time hit single and her visibility (save for Fashion Rocks) is quite low-key. Because of this, I don’t expect JHUD to perform well in the least. This is an album that should sell greater than 100,000 copies, but likely will not achieve such a feat. Between 60,000 and 80,000 copies seems possible, and that’s elevated compared to most other R&B acts as of late. Hudson’s last album, I Remember Me, sold 165,000 copies its first week, more than three years ago. Hudson’s self-titled debut sold a more robust 217,000 copies.
5) Prince, ART OFFICIAL AGE & PLECTRUMELECTRUM (Warner Bros 9/30)
Prediction: Two albums from Prince is like Christmas in late-September for me personally. I’m giddy like a schoolgirl waiting for the Purple One to unleash his quirky, always distinctive new music. That said, one album would likely eclipse the other in sales – it’s happened numerous times historically. Likely, I’d bet more on ART OFFICIAL AGE than PLECTRUMELECTRUM, his album with 3RDEYEGIRL. Predicting Prince’s sales are difficult, though his recent crop of albums have exceeded 100,000 copies the first week, with the exception being Planet Earth (#3, 96,000 copies).
6) Lady Antebellum, 747 (Capitol Nashville, 9/30)
Prediction: Lady Antebellum won’t be hurting for sales by the time 747 materializes, but it’s hard to imagine the album being ‘huge’ like previous blockbusters Need You Now or Own The Night. 2013 effort Golden debuted at a familiar spot (#1), but sold significantly less than the trio’s more decorated efforts (167,000 copies). I expect Lady A will exceed 100,000 copies, but won’t quite match 167,000 copies. If by some chance they do exceed, it won’t be greater than 200,000 copies.
7) Jason Aldean, Old Boots New Dirt (Broken Bow, 10/7)
Prediction: Jason Aldean is a hot commodity as far as country music is concerned. Sure, Luke Bryan has taken over the reins as of late, but look for Aldean to score another #1 album and robust numbers. 200,000 copies wouldn’t be far-fetched – Just ask Brantley Gilbert. Aldean moved double that amount with previous album, Night Train, selling 409,000 copies its first week.
8) Florida Georgia Line, Anything Goes (Big Machine, 10/14)
Prediction: After Jason Aldean claims #1 from the previous week, Florida Georgia Line will give country music yet another #1 album. “Cruise” was just too big and FGL will reap the benefits in a big way on Anything Goes. At least 200,000 copies (being conservative), but this will likely be an even more robust album.
9) Neil Diamond, Melody Road (Capitol, 10/21)
Prediction: Neil Diamond likely won’t approach the numbers that Aldean or Florida Georgia Line will experience, but Melody Road’s potential sales shouldn’t be underrated. Diamond is still the man even at his age, and usually when he releases a new album, it’s kind of a big deal – selling somewhere in the 100,000 copies ballpark seams quite attainable for Diamond. Home Before Dark sold 146,000 copies in 2008.
10) Taylor Swift, 1989 (Big Machine, 10/27)
Prediction: Can Swift possibly score a third album that sells a million copies its first week? Yes, it is quite possible, and it would be ill advised to bet against Swift. That said, can one album sell 1 million copies in 2014 – it’s been a tepid sales year. I hold out the hope that Swift can move a milli, but will prognosticate a bit more conservatively. 500,000 copies minimally, maximally close to the million-mark at 800-950K.
11) Fighters, Sonic Highways (RCA, 11/10)
Prediction: Fighters should be in line for another #1, but will likely have to fend off a red-hot Taylor Swift, who will likely cling onto that #1 spot. Still, Foo Fighters might just be settling for a robust #2 bow at worst. Easily should sell 150,000 copies – could reach/surpass the 200,000 copies mark, like Wasting Light did in 2011.
13) Fifth Harmony, Reflection (RCA 11/17)
Prediction: Fifth Harmony have a potential #2 spot locked up because of One Direction.
14) One Direction, Four (Columbia, 11/17)
Prediction: One Direction will definitely claim #1 once more, but the question is how much will they sell? 500,000 copies seems quite possible, but there’s also the possibility to surpass or underperform, depending on how their promo singles impact. Still, 500,000 copies seems about right.