Delays For The Holidays

In an interesting turn of events, it appears that Chinese Democracy, the long-awaited Guns N’ Roses album, could be the saving grace this holiday season for Universal Music Group’s Interscope/Geffen/A&M after a handful of other major releases faced delays.

The label had plans to drop five major releases before the holidays – Eminem’s Relapse, 50 Cent’s Before I Self Distruct and albums by Black Eyed Peas, Dr. Dre and U2.

But most of those releases have been pushed back to 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal, at a time when the music industry is seeing sales decline significantly, down 29 percent from just a year ago.

The industry reportedly makes up to 40 percent of its annual sales during the holidays, and the lack of offerings could prove damaging to labels’ bottom lines.

However, Interscope chair Jimmy Iovine denied that the label was concerned with meeting release schedules for the holidays.

“Interscope/Geffen/A&M has never been a label to rush the creative process of its artists,” Iovine said in a statement to the WSJ.

UMG may still have some wiggle room this season. The group maintains the largest market share of any music company with 35 percent of new releases, the paper said, and there have been some recent major releases in other divisions from acts including Taylor Swift, Kanye West and The Killers.