September 3, 2006

TV exposure powers new album releases

By Geoff Mayfield

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - In case you missed lessons
learned in recent years from "American Idol," awards shows and
the career path of Josh Groban, the top 10 of the latest
Billboard 200 albums chart makes an obvious marketing mantra
abundantly clear: TV exposure sells music.

You see that in the bows at No. 2 and No. 6 by,
respectively, OutKast and Paris Hilton. You see it in the
169,000 units that "The Cheetah Girls 2" soundtrack has sold
during its two chart weeks at No. 5. And, nowhere is it more
abundantly clear than in the No. 1 bow by Sean "Diddy" Combs'
latest made-on-MTV group, Danity Kane.

The lady quintet sold 234,000 copies in its first week, a
bigger tally than the previous two "Making the Band" acts

O-Town, the ensemble assembled when "Making the Band"
launched on ABC in 2000, sold 145,000 in the frame its
self-titled 2001 album started at No. 5.

When the series shifted to MTV and recruited Diddy as its
mentor, 2003 saw Da Band ring up 204,000 in the opening week,
which placed "Too Hot for T.V." at No. 2 on the big chart and
No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.

A meager radio picture makes Danity Kane's sales splash all
the more impressive. Whereas O-Town's "All or Nothing" rose to
No. 10 on the all-format Hot 100 Airplay list and Da Band
worked "Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That" to No. 46, Danity Kane's
"Show Stopper" has yet to dent that chart.

Exposure from "Making the Band" began 18 months ago when
the series returned to the video channel. The gals' "Show
Stopper" got "Making the Video" coverage from MTV, which helped
the clip draw 37 plays on that channel.

Beyond that, "Show Stopper" has lived up to its title in
cyberspace, attracting 6 million streams at the group's MySpace
page and 1.5 million viewings at

All that new-fangled exposure makes Danity Kane a David to
the Grammy Award-winning Goliath that is OutKast, although the
rap duo does lead Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Billboard's urban
sales charts are fed by a panel of core stores that specialize
in those genres, thus artists' standings often differ from
ranks on the big chart.

The soundtrack from OutKast's "Idlewild" film mounted its
own TV attack, with opening-week slots on "Late Night With
David Letterman," "Today" and "TRL." That helped pump
first-week sales of 196,000, handsome by most acts' standards
but a far cry from the 510,000 first-week sales that greeted
the duo's juggernaut "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" when that
double-album reached the market in September 2003.

How does pop culture figure Hilton prove TV's music oomph?
Easy. If the woman changes her shoes, someone on some TV show
will broadcast the news, while TV series "The Simple Life"
helped elevate her profile from tabloid princess to "It" girl
when it launched on Fox in 2003.

Certainly the making of Hilton's album has kept her name in
the entertainment media during an extended period of time.
Guilty-pleasure lead single "Stars Are Blind" even became a
decent-sized hit, peaking at No. 18 on The Billboard Hot 100,
with most of that song's chart action derived from digital

Coming off the 1.6 million sales that Nielsen SoundScan
tracked for 2003 release "Cheetah Girls EP," the success of the
new Cheetah Girls soundtrack suggests that neither the sales
oomph of Disney Channel, nor the buying appetite of its
pre-teen and younger audience, should be underestimated.