You are here

Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby xojennyxo » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:53 pm

I have a question & I was wondering if anyone here had reliable information to answer - because my research & Google-ing never gives a concrete conclusion.

I'm sure it's not a new thing, hearing about some major labels & artists buying their own albums in bulk in order to gain higher chart positions & inflate sales that will cause hype & get more people to actually buy their album.

For example, let's say a singer named "Betty Boop" released an album & bought 10,000 copies to boost her chart position on Billboard. And, when the sales are reported - they are pretty loftier than they would have been otherwise: meaning better press, hype & people thinking the album is "buzz worthy" and actually going to buy the record themselves.

Some would say it's silly, but if a major label/artist bought X amount of their own albums (let's say 50,000 opening week) - it wouldn't cost them as much as the consumer & with all the hype it would get the artist - 50,000 actual people could buy it the week after & thus generate real sales based off of that hype.

Many artists have been said to have done this. And to be honest, we all know chart manipulations & such practices are not new.

But my question is........HOW is it done? How can these artists/companies buy their album in bulk & have it count?

I remember back when fans or artists like Lady GaGa & Britney Spears were starting campaigns where the hardcore fans were going to buy multiple copies of the same album/singles to boost their favorite artists sales. However, according to Billboard - such practices wouldn't count:

Link: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/1048227/chart-beat-chat

(It's the Article titled "Buy Buy Buy")

So if multiple purchases of the same song or albums on iTunes don't count when hardcore fans purchase - how do the artists do it?

If buying 20 copies of the same album at "Best Buy" only counts as one - then in store bulk purchases aren't the answer.

Is it different with Amazon? Can a label buy 1000 copies of the same MP3 or physical album on Amazon & have them all count - without Billboard/Soundscan reporting the purchase as an anomaly?

I'm just really curious to know how this practice is done by said artists/labels when there seem to be so many restrictions set in place for it to not be easily possible.

I know that no matter what, sales are sales and if I were to buy 50 copies of an album the record label & artist would get the money. It's just the purchase wouldn't count on the charts & wouldn't help them in that area.

So how do these artists buy up their singles & albums - and have them soar to the Top 10 on iTunes/Amazon Mp3 Charts and the top of the Billboard charts to create more hype & interest in the product?
xojennyxo
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:00 pm

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby GaryM » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:00 pm

xojennyxo wrote:Some would say it's silly, but if a major label/artist bought X amount of their own albums (let's say 50,000 opening week) - it wouldn't cost them as much as the consumer & with all the hype it would get the artist - 50,000 actual people could buy it the week after & thus generate real sales based off of that hype.

How would the record label be able to buy albums for less than normal customers? Wouldn't they have to buy the recordings through normal channels (record shops, etc.) for the sales to count towards chart position.

Also, according to this BBC article - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23840744 - a record company gets £2.40 from the sale of a CD costing £8. If a record company bought 50,000 CDs to generate further sales of 50,000 CDs, they'd have spent £400,000 to get £120,000 back. Each CD the record company bought would need to generate four further sales for the record company to make a profit.
GaryM
Regular
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:00 am

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby xojennyxo » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:36 pm

Here's a quote:

“If they buy 50,000 songs, we’re talking $50,000 less 70 percent, so it would cost about $15,000,” Silverman explained. “For $15,000 in a week, they can buy 50,000 more song downloads, which could drive the record up three or four positions on the chart. And they hype of it all would make people believe it, and then the next week it would be real, which is what always used to happen.”

This is the article:

http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.11717/title.tommy-boys...


And it's not as "off" as you would think. They could use a cut of the money that was used to make the album, but not spent - or take a chunk of the money set for promotion to use for buying the albums. Because, essentially - there's no better form of promotion or hype than seeing an artists album/single high on the chart & on iTunes - thus leaving the impression that it is very popular and making consumers want to jump on the bandwagon. Noone wants to feel left out of a movement.

I've also heard record labels buying some of their artists albums to create the illusion that their stock has boosted, make them seem more important - and use the purchases as a tax write-off.

I highly doubt that, as long as the business has been around - some wealthy artist or their label hasn't done that. Especially if the early sales indicate the project would be a total commercial failure.

And when we all know labels do things like payola - pay high sums of money to radio stations to get their artists songs played........it doesn't seem far fetched that they'd do things for the delusion of grandeur and to boost their artists presence. After all, these are artists they want to cultivate into bread winners and make them more money. So it's kind of like they are investing more in order to create hype - and then bear the fruits of that after the hype triggers people to be interested in them and create a much bigger fanbase - which turns into much more increased (and organic) revenue.

Many sources say it happens and I'm just wondering how it's possible.
xojennyxo
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:00 pm

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby dubbmann » Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:40 am

i've read of this apropos of artists who include CDs in the ticket price for their live gigs - i know lady gaga did this and i think the result was about 500,000 CDs counted as sales that were giveaways, of a sort. as for rich musos doing this, i'm reminded of an episode of 'red dwarf' where in an alternative timeline dave lister is fabulously wealthy from inventing the 'tension sheet' for stress release and uses some of his dosh to finance his band's commercial success by buying a million copies of the resulting LP (old days, that show). as the fake newscaster's profile said, you'll never be short of an ashtray in his house ;-)

cheers,

d
User avatar
dubbmann
Frequent Poster
Posts: 822
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:00 am
Location: 3rd stone from the sun.

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:23 am

I presume additional revenue is generated by getting the tracks on radio, video channels and compilations, so expenditure on physical product or downloads is recouped that way, or not in some cases.
User avatar
Richie Royale
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4432
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Bristol, England.

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby Frisonic » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:31 pm

I was always given to understand that, back in the day, in the UK, there were only about 200 record shops where the sales were actually counted. It was only ever a sample. I'm only talking about compiling the weekly chart here although once a record was in the charts it got all the air play God could provide! thereafter the record was on its own but it had at least had that all important initial push. And of course all the senior Svengalis knew exactly which record shops they were. So targeted market manipulation using a trusted courtier of local record purchasing operatives, who were discreetly on the payroll, wasn't such an onerous task. They didn't even need to 'buy' that many records. I may be a victim of a conspiracy theory but it always sounded plausible to me. If its true then I don't know how it was done in the USA unless it was the same thing but on a rather larger scale?
Frisonic
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3287
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Refugee currently in transition.

Still strictly project but lately on the run.


Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby alexis » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:14 pm

Of course reports of Brian Epstein buying 10,000 copies of Love Me Do to get it to #17 on the charts suggests it's been done for a long time, probably longer.

Was his one of the "special" record shops used for counting the hits, or were the rules different back then?
User avatar
alexis
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3187
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: San Antonio, TX USA

Cubase7.5.40 64bit;i5-4570 3.2GHz,16GB RAM;W10 64bit on Samsung SSD840 Pro256GB;Seagte 1TB SATA600 Audio;UR28M;Motif8;UAD2Solo;Jamstix 3.3;BCF2K;TC Helicon VoiceOne;RevoicePro3.2


Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby BigRedX » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:17 pm

And in the days of physical product, there was nothing stopping the record companies boxing up what they had just "bought" and selling it back to the shops when they needed to restock.
User avatar
BigRedX
Regular
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 11:00 pm

RockinRollin' VampireMan


Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby xojennyxo » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:29 pm

To all of you above: YES EXACTLY! I've heard of those theories too. As well as from people on label "Street teams" that are told to, when an album is dropped - to go to multiple stores and purchase copies of the album, and then ship them back to the label to be reimbursed.

So when it comes to physical products in stores it's probably easier.

But how do they do it in terms of on iTunes? I've heard about people buying the digital music to get it in the top 10 of iTunes (creating hype) but how do they get around iTunes rules?

And what about Amazon?

I've heard Amazon counts every purchase as a single sale - and doesn't report if certain orders were made in bulk by one person.

For example - if I went & bought 10,000 copies of the new Britney Spears album, they would just report the total number of albums bought and they would all count towards chart position. Noone would know that all 10,000 were purchased by just one person - which would discredit the purchase and the sales would only count for the albums total sales, but it wouldn't be counted on the charts (so her album wouldn't jump a bunch of spots).

Is this true? Because Billboard/Soundscan look at things like that to see if any purchases are an anomaly. How do these labels get around this & do this, in the new digital age?

It's very sneaky but at the same time it's pretty smart when it comes to promotion & making people seem bigger than they initially are - triggering everyone to hop on the bandwagon, buy the product & see what the hype is all about. I've heard of quite a few artists who have Payola from their label & their labels doing things like this to thank for jump-starting their career & making them big thru the delusions of grandeur.

But how is it done? That is the question.

Maybe one of us might want to do that one day to help boost our own careers. After all, it only takes a few thousand copies sold to appear in the iTunes top 10 during a week with no really major superstar album/single release. This could be a tactic proven to help some independent artists - if we can figure out how to maneuver such.
xojennyxo
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:00 pm

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby Zukan » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:41 am

I'm sure we had this in the 80s and it was front page news, but I'm buggered if I remember the label. Maybe someone much older than me, like Zen, can answer this. His beard is known to house many secrets.
User avatar
Zukan
Moderator
Posts: 6208
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:00 pm

Samplecraze   Stretch That Note Masterclasses


Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby OneWorld » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:43 am

Going off ona tangent slightly, there was the issue of that famous author, one of the Saatchis who was in a divorce wrangle with the famous cook (forgot her name) but it came out during a court case that Saatchi paid his 2 assistants to go around in a taxi to every bookshop in London buying up every single copy of his book - result, shot to the top of the booksales for that week, that's how rich people get richer I suppose, they fiddle their way there
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2009
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:00 pm

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby Frisonic » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:58 pm

OneWorld wrote:Going off ona tangent slightly, there was the issue of that famous author, one of the Saatchis who was in a divorce wrangle with the famous cook (forgot her name) but it came out during a court case that Saatchi paid his 2 assistants to go around in a taxi to every bookshop in London buying up every single copy of his book - result, shot to the top of the booksales for that week, that's how rich people get richer I suppose, they fiddle their way there

Sastchi is not famous for being an author. He and his brother first became famous for creating the worlds most effective advertising agency. Gaming market places for other people is exactly how they made their money! A lot of which he spent on collecting 'art' and what he bought was so bad he has had to give it away to the nation to avoid the embarrassment of trying to get his money back by selling it! He'd know exactly how to game a best sellers list. But what is interesting about that story is the scale he was able to do it on. Just a few targeted book shops in London... Not hard to do. No need to buy too many books. No great cost involved. Which as I understand it was how record companies used to do it back in the day. In the UK at least. I don't think you could as easily do that on Amazon, for example. I'd have thought rigging 'votes' or 'likes' on social network sites would be easier to pull off today. Something like that. It wouldn't even involve buying anything!
Frisonic
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3287
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:00 am
Location: Refugee currently in transition.

Still strictly project but lately on the run.


Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby Emmet » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:08 am

I know someone who was paid to go round the chart return shops in the early 80s to do some chart rigging...told me the name of one of the acts (male singer...wont go into it here).

Obviously the same now goes on re buying Facebook/Twitter followers and paying for YouTube plays. The fact that places like Radio 1 want to see a 'buzz' on social media (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBN2F6yXevA) and want to see lots of YT plays sort of skews the system so that people HAVE to fake them in order for the 'system' to take them on. Hey, Radio 1 why not play somethign just because you like it not just because it's popular, perish the thought.

I think you're allowed to legally buy about 3 downloads of a track and it to count towards chart positioning...anything after that doesn't. I'm sure I read something like that.
Emmet
Regular
Posts: 173
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby I'd Rather Play » Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:20 pm

Isn't the Clash's Hitsville UK about 'Brass in Pocket' by the Pretenders being chart hyped?
I'd Rather Play
Frequent Poster
Posts: 590
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby Zukan » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:45 am

Reminds me of Google and paid click thrus.
User avatar
Zukan
Moderator
Posts: 6208
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:00 pm

Samplecraze   Stretch That Note Masterclasses


Re: Major Labels & Artists Buying their Own Albums?

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:26 pm

For streaming, it's technically very possible (and not so hard) to set up a server farm to execute many purchases from one location, where each of them cannot be distinguished from really different ones. It's only a question of financing the necessary hardware and software, and of course the cost of each purchases.

But I remember that infographic showing that with the price for buying 1100+ cds, one gets four million streams, so the last bit isn't definitely the most expensive item..
User avatar
CS70
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1124
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway

Silver Spoon - It's just music!  Check out our latest single and video!



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest