Why playing the long game is the future for the music business

Why playing the long game is the future for the music business

In this week’s Big Interview with Spotify’s George Ergatoudis, the former Radio 1 man makes the point that the music business is now all about long-term success, rather than its short-term cousin.

Plenty in the biz would say it always has been, of course, but the facts are that, at least in the Albums Chart, the success of a project has often rested on a blockbuster first week.

Looking at the Q4 figures so far, those weeks might be a thing of the past. Big names from Emeli Sandé to Elvis Presley, Robbie Williams to Michael Bublé and Green Day to Bon Jovi have come out and sold perfectly respectably, but none – with the possible exception of Little Mix’s Glory Days this week – have done the big numbers we might have expected a few years ago.

Much of that may be to do with the shift from sales to streams but, either way, it makes weeks two, three, four and beyond even more important for any release that’s serious about racking up platinum-plus sales.

In the same way that labels are adjusting to breaking new acts over several albums rather than one single, they may have to contemplate shifting albums over several respectable weeks rather than one spectacular one.

With that in mind, keep an eye on – of all the under-hyped people – Michael Ball and Alfie Boe. Their Together album is still growing after three solid weeks and is many people’s tip for Christmas No.1.

We’re already working on a phenomenal Jinglebell Ball pun should that happen but, in the meantime, everyone else might want to study their campaign for tips on why Week 1 isn’t everything.

Mark Sutherland, Editor

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