Industry awaits its happy Monday

Industry awaits its happy Monday

JLS's Outta This World, Now! 77 and Toy Story 3 - which is expected to benefit music via increased footfall - are all confirmed for release on November 22.

Although Polydor is keeping tight-lipped about the exact release date of Take That's new album with Robbie Williams, the consensus among retailers is that it will be released on the 22nd.

A new album of unreleased material from Michael Jackson is also believed to be scheduled for release on that Monday.

Should the JLS and Take That albums both come out on November 22, it will once again pit The X Factor finalists against Robbie Williams: the band's self-titled debut album was released on the same day in November last year as Robbie Williams' Reality Killed The Video Star, selling 239,643 units in the first week to narrowly beat Williams to number one.

This time, however, even JLS' records boss, Epic UK managing director Nick Raphael, does not expect JLS to go to number one if pitted against an album he has described as "potentially one of the biggest records of the decade".

"People say they expect Take That to win - I say, 'I know that'," he says. "We are releasing the JLS album on the best day for us."

Nevertheless, he believes the possible competition can only be good for the industry. "If Take That comes on the same day that will be the biggest battle since Oasis and Blur," he says.

Even without the added spice of a Take That and Robbie album, Play.com category manager for music Ben Bewick believes November 22 will be a massive day for music. "It is really exciting from our point of view," he says. "We are hoping that Toy Story will impact really positively on the music titles."

Bewick explains that Now! is "your Christmas banker", with Now! 74, released last November, selling 289,231 units in its first week.

"That is really interesting, for music you have got product across the board that will appeal to everyone," he says.

A number of other albums are also currently scheduled for a November 22 release, including new sets from Justin Bieber, Alesha Dixon and Annie Lennox, as well as a re-package of Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D.

But there is little surprise that it is the Take That album that has really got retailers interested. Not only is it the first Take That album featuring Williams since he quit the band 15 years ago but it also follows massive sales of recent Take That releases.

The band's last studio album The Circus, released in December 2008, sold 432,490 units in its first week and has shifted more than 2m to date, while Williams' last studio album Reality Killed the Video Star has sold 896,000 in the UK.

The new album, which has been produced by Stuart Price, will be released by Polydor in November. While the release date is listed as, variously, November 22 and 29, on internet retailers, there is a consensus among the industry that the 22nd is the most likely date, with Universal label A&M set to release Duffy's highly-anticipated second album on November 29. "From our point of view, the earlier we know the better," adds Bewick.

Clearly, though, there is enthusiasm for the reunion. The Take That album has already climbed to number two in the HMV pre-order charts and number three at Play, while Shame, a new duet between Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow taken from Williams' forthcoming greatest hits, has topped the UK airplay charts.


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