Rachel Platten is a brave soul. No, not because of her “Fight Song” or the fact that she’ll “Stand By You,” but because her major label debut album Wildfire was released on New Years Day. The question that this curious music journalist has for Columbia Records is why release Wildfire on New Years Day when no notable albums are released?
Years back – 2010 to be specific – a burgeoning artist named Ke$ha released her Animal within the first release week of January, but not New Years Day (January 5). The same can be said of rap duo Rae Sremmurd back in 2015, with SremmLife dropping on January 6. Both albums performed well considering how slow January tends to be. Also of note, both albums had hits which helped their lot – Ke$ha in particular. Again, it can’t be reiterated enough that holiday release dates are usually avoided.
A perfect example of an instance where a holiday album release failed to pick up significant traction is Fabolous’ The Young OG Project. The Young OG Project dropped Christmas Day 2014, and only mustered up a #12 debut with 71,000 units. Those numbers aren’t abysmal, but the album didn’t go too far. That said, the question is, how much of 71,000 units is attributed to the fact that Fabolous is an established artist?
So let’s look at Rachel Platten’s status. “Fight Song” was a big hit for Platten (peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100), but has understandably lost its luster because it’s been out for a minute, no longer residing on the Billboard Hot 100. “Stand By You” is just picking up steam, though as of the penning of this article, it sits at #66 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it has peaked at #61 as of yet). So, how much do singles propel Wildfire?
Maybe the bigger question for yours truly is, how invested is Columbia Records into Platten? If they are aware that New Years Day might not be the optimal time to release an album (which wasn’t even stocked at Walmart when I went to ‘check it out’ on New Year’s Day), why take the risk? Do they lack faith in Platten’s potential sales? Perhaps.
Hopefully, Platten’s braveness does pay off, even if it takes awhile. Things don’t look promising for Wildfire, but “it is what it is.” The album itself is worthwhile.