Bieber Gets Creative For Charts

Although album sales have slumped since the glory days of the early 2000s, major artists still want to see their new LPs hit No. 1 on the charts – and are finding creative ways to make it happen.

Photo: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Justin Bieber, for instance, found himself fighting for top spot against the boy band touring juggernaut that is One Direction, whose new album would drop the same week. Leading up to the release, Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, met with promoter AEG Live to see how they could build buzz for his Purpose album, the Wall Street Journal reported.

AEG CEO Dan Beckerman told the paper that some of Braun’s ideas were “pretty out there,” including a telethon-style takeover on AEG’s AXS TV channel.

Eventually they settled on hosting fan events at Staples Center in Los Angeles, three acoustic performances that included Q&A sessions – and an album purchase.

That led to 33,000 album-and-ticket bundle purchases, as well as many likely purchases from those streaming the performances from home. Bieber also teamed up with ride-sharing app Lyft to sell copies of the new album to customers in “Bieber mode.”

For the week, Bieber’s album came out on top, with more than 500,000 copies sold in the U.S. to about 400,000 for One Direction’s Made In The A.M.

The promo activities weren’t direct moneymakers for Bieber or AEG, Beckerman told the WSJ, but “it was a small price to pay” to keep key talent happy. Tickets for Bieber’s AEG tour went on sale last week.

Bieber isn’t the only one taking steps for a big debut week.

Maryland-based rapper Logic hit the road by bus for cross-country listening sessions in fans’ living rooms, and encouraged fans to buy multiple copies of his new album and share pics on social media. Logic’s managers, Chris Zarou and Harrison Remler, told the Wall Street Journal blog that big sales numbers for the debut would be nice (and they were big), but the primary goal was to double touring business.

Taylor Swift had a corporate tie-in with Papa John’s that offered customers a copy of her Red CD with their pizza delivery.

The approach with Adele’s much-anticipated new album mirrors that of a few other high-profile artists – at least for the first few weeks.

She’s withholding her 25 LP from streaming services such as Spotify. She reportedly sold 2.3 million copies of the album in its first three days of going on sale.