https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/bon ... 41960.htmlWhy is Bon Jovi’s album back at No. 1, two years later — and is that fair?
Paul Grein, Writer
March 5, 2018
Bon Jovi’s 2016 album This House Is Not for Sale re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 1, dislodging the hot-selling soundtrack to the blockbuster film Black Panther. How can that be? Bon Jovi’s album was boosted by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, in which fans who bought a ticket to Bon Jovi’s upcoming arena tour could also opt to get the album. A similar redemption offer enabled the album to debut at No. 1 back in November 2016.
Many other albums have benefited from such offers. Just since last summer, such promotions boosted Arcade Fire’s Everything Now, LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream, the Killers’ Wonderful Wonderful, Shania Twain’s Now, and P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma, all of which debuted at No. 1.
But while these bundles are an established practice in the music industry, they raise fairness issues. Is Bon Jovi’s album really the most popular album in America this week, or did the band’s team just capitalize on a quirk in chart methodology?
The album owes almost all of its success to the two promotions. It sold 128K copies in traditional album sales in its first week. It sold 120K copies this week. But get this: In the 67 weeks between those tent-pole weeks, it sold just 78K copies — on average, just a little more than 1K copies a week. Last week, without the promotion, the album sold just 175 copies.
Keith Caulfield, Billboard‘s co-director of charts, explained how these offers work in his chart recap this week. “For the tour’s ticket/album sale redemption offer, the price of the standard CD edition of This House Is Not for Sale was bundled into the purchase price of each ticket sold online to the tour. Customers received, via email, a redemption offer for the album, where they could choose to redeem the CD and have it mailed to them. The only sales that count towards the charts are those albums that are redeemed by customers. Many ticket buyers never redeem the offer.”
In a previous column, he explained the rationale behind the promotions. “Artists and record labels have increasingly turned to offering ticket/album bundles as a way to sell music, as the traditional retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, and as album sales continue to shrink. Not only are a growing number of fans turning to streaming in order to consume albums (instead of buying them), but the brick-and-mortar retailers that remain in business have dramatically reduced the number of titles they sell in stores (as well as the physical floor space for those albums). In turn, artists have found new ways to sell their music — from selling them bundled with merchandise, to offering them with concert tickets.”
Fair or not fair, This House Is Not for Sale will go down as Bon Jovi’s first album to log multiple weeks at No. 1 since New Jersey in 1988. That album, the band’s follow-up to their commercial breakthrough Slippery When Wet, spawned five top 10 hits on the Hot 100. This House Is Not for Sale has yet to spawn any Hot 100 hits.
This House Is Not for Sale returns to No. 1 following a 67-week gap. That’s the longest gap between appearances at No. 1 for any album since Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas returned to No. 1 in January 1958, seven years after its most recent No. 1 appearance. (That album contained his immortal “White Christmas.”)
This House Is Not for Sale is the third album to re-enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1, following Chris Stapleton’s Traveller (following his big night at the CMA Awards in 2015) and Prince’s The Very Best of Prince (following his death in 2016). This House Is Not for Sale has been in release for 69 weeks, but this is just its eighth week on the Billboard 200. The album charted for seven weeks in late 2016 and early 2017.
Bon Jovi’s tour kicks off on March 14 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The 24-date U.S. trek is slated to conclude on May 24 at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Bon Jovi will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14. Howard Stern is set to do the honors.