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Old 03-08-2005, 07:34 PM   #1
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Should U2 Abandon HTDAAB And Record A New Album Immediately?

PREFACE: This post deals mainly with the American charts and sales figures. U2 have always stressed how important they consider the American market and how desperate they are to capture it.

HTDAAB debuted strong, thanks to the biggest marketing push U2 had ever embarked on - their catchiest first single ever (Vertigo), iPod ads everyday, the Edge-France-Lost-CD-Saga, SNL appearances, Free NYC Show, Playing on a Flatbet Truck in NY, 3 different versions of the album, CSI's background music, $9.99 album price in Best Buy, excellent album reviews, and other promotional gimmicks.

A vast majority of the buyers of the first two weeks had bought the album unheard and only because of the marketing, promotion and because it is U2. U2 have sold around 2.5 million copies of their album to date, but around 1.25 million were sold on the first two weeks! So 50% of their album sales were made during the first two weeks by buyers who had never heard it. 1.25 million in the first two weeks, and 1.25 million in the last 13 weeks.

After the first two weeks, the Christmas push came to shove. Sales still stayed up. We all know how Christmas sales work: many people buy the album as gifts to their friends who they think will like U2. So a number of the Christmas sales were also by people who had never heard the album.

So it is really the post-Christmas sales that show whether or not the album has legs. And based on the turn of events and poor sales, it looks like the album should be crippled by now. The post Christmas sales have been horrible, perhaps the worst of U2's career.

U2 have already pushed the panic button. Despite releasing All Because Of You as their American single, they saw it was headed nowhere. So they did not promote it or play it live in any TV show. Knowing that the Grammies was the biggest TV music audience, U2 went to panic mode by: (1) not playing the song they were nominated for because it was already going out of the charts; and, (2) not playing their current single All Because Of You because it was getting clear it would go nowhere in the charts. Playing Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own was a clear move of desperation to save the album. Even Bono's performance in the Grammy's looked a little bit tense and desperate. For good measure, U2 threw in The Mullen Apology and won 3 of 3 in the Grammies. But was there any album push? Only a temporary climb to #20 in the charts, while the other Grammy artists climbed to top 10.

The week after the Grammies, U2 went back to where they were or even worse - at #41 on the charts. Now, on week 15, HTDAAB is not even on the top 50 anymore in the American album charts. They even had to push for the earlier release of Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own in America but it looks like it is a futile effort to save the album from plummeting more and more to chart nothingness.

So what's next now for U2? Will releasing a 4th single immediately save the album? I doubt it. At the rate the album is selling (or not selling, however you'd want to put it) in America, U2 will be playing to a lot of half-empty arenas come the third leg. If Americans don't want to spend $12 on the U2 cd, why would they even bother spending $80 for a concert?

To my mind, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction or tour opening won't have as much effect as the Grammies. And if all the Grammies could do was a temporary climb to #20, then those other two events won't help U2 much. While I love HTDAAB very much, the other music-buying audience has spoken. They don't like the musical quality of HTDAAB. Take away the sales of the first two weeks (since people haven't heard it yet) and half the sales of the Christmas push (since buyers got it to give as gifts without listening to it), then you have give-or-take around 1 million in sales. That is less than POP. Even POP was #49 on its 15th week in the American charts. HTDAAB is nowhere in the top 50.

I don't think a quickie fourth single can save U2. I think U2 should consider the option of abandoning all promotions for HTDAAB and record a new album instead. U2 did it during Zooropa, planing it to the studios after every gig. When Bono's dad was sick, Bono would plane in to Dublin after every gig. So it is a possible option for U2 to plane in to a US studio after every gig to work on a follow-up to HTDAAB. And they should release it before the third leg. Songs like Mercy and North Star should be considered.

Cheers,

J
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:37 PM   #2
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Re: Should U2 Abandon HTDAAB And Record A New Album Immediately?

Quote:
Originally posted by jick
Even Bono's performance in the Grammy's looked a little bit tense and desperate. For good measure, U2 threw in The Mullen Apology
LOL, gold, Jick!

If those rumors about a new Zooropa sort of album (less mainstream) are true, that would rule, of course.
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:44 PM   #3
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I've said from day one the album was overhyped, also I thought ABOY was a dubious choice of 2nd single, however as you've admitted yourself you are solely looking at the US picture - what about the rest of the world?
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:59 PM   #4
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I don't know jick, there's marketing and then there's the market.
As much as I want to see U2 be successful with their music sales,
it's not like the're use to having a string of # 1's.

But things aren't over yet for HTDAAB. This tour is going to be phenomenal. Don't dismiss the album so soon.

Besides this hasn't mattered to their fans and the other millions that have purchased their album(s). and now tickets to their world wide concerts.

(Would still like to have that album nx year anyway )
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:02 PM   #5
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Re: Should U2 Abandon HTDAAB And Record A New Album Immediately?

Quote:
Originally posted by jick
CSI's background music, $9.99 album price in Best Buy
Do you really live in the Phillipines?

Anyway, I agree that Bono looked and sounded nervous during the Grammy performance (stumbled while talking about his Dad singing opera). Despite the fact that it's reminiscent of everything they've done before and that the lyrics are not the greatest, it's still a very good album, in my opinion. Pity, it's going down the charts. The number of bad reviews on Amazon is just ridiculous. It's crossed even Metallica's St. Anger I think, which in fact was the worst album ever. HTDAAB doesn't deserve all this negativity. It's as if it's cool to dis U2 these days and everybody's doing it.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:04 PM   #6
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I disagree that the album was overhyped. I feel it is fully deserving of all the praise and hype its received.

So if the album is so good, why is it out of the Top 50 on the U.S. charts?

Well, we all know that quality has little to do with sales. A quick scan of the Top 50 albums or the Top 50 songs on the U.S. charts should quickly prove this to anyone. And I don't mean to mock just today's charts - this has always been true. Often great music is pushed aside for "hot" music. It's only years later that some artists prove how great they were.

Still, what does this do for U2?

It's true that ABoY failed to become a hit. That surprised me too. I know many here do not like ABoY, but you have to think in terms of radio. ABoY is a short, catchy, rocking song - perfect for radio. Yet it didn't succeed. I blame U2's marketing team a lot for this. While I think ABoY was a good single, I disagree that it should have been the second single in the U.S. Having back to back upbeat rock songs backfired. Casual fans knew about "Vertigo" and may have felt ABoY was more of the same. A break was needed between the two fast-paced rock songs. Additionally, there was NO marketing for ABoY. No push for the video, no TV promotion, U2 never played it live on TV, no iTunes push, etc. It's as if the song was released and allowed to either sink or swim. While it did chart, it mostly sank and that's a shame.

ABoY performed a lot like "Elevation" in the U.S. "Elevation" also failed to crack the Hot 100. What's surprising, though, is that "Elevation" did have the big marketing push behind it. It had a huge video, a big "making of" video and was tied to a big Hollywood summer blockbuster movie! Yet "Elevation" still failed to become a bit hit. Sometimes marketing just isn't enough - but it's better than no marketing at all. At least the marketing kept U2 in the public eye.

ATYCLB initially lingered in the Top 50 for a long time because "Beautiful Day" lingered on the charts for a long time. "Vertigo" was a great first single, but it also behaved more like a typical single. It rose, peaked and then slid down the charts. In contrast, "Beautiful Day" just lingered and lingered and that helped ATYCLB. But when "Beautiful Day" finally fell, so did ATYCLB - all the way out of the Top 100.

It's easy to praise ATYCLB now, but the truth is, "Elevation" flopped as a single and ATYCLB was out of the Top 100 come late summer 2001.

Then it rebounded.

Why?

"Stuck..." was released. "Stuck..." wasn't a huge hit - only peaking in the 50's on the Hot 100, but that was enough to get it significant airtime. Yes, there may be some 9/11 connections there, but for whatever reason, "Stuck..." became a decent-sized hit for U2. In turn, ATYCLB rebounded all the way from out of the Top 100 to #58. It continued to linger in the Top 100 albums, until eventually the Super Bowl performance and the 2002 Grammies gave it another monstrous boost back into the Top 10.

My point is that even ATYCLB wasn't this "mega-album" that lingered in the Top 30 for 2 years before falling. It fell out of the Top 100 and it produced songs that failed to become hits. But it was able to rebound thanks to a hit song.

The same can be true for HTDAAB. "Sometimes..." was just released and its already making a pretty big dent on the radio charts. It may not be in the Hot 100 yet, but it may very well work its way there in a week or two. As this song grows, so with HTDAAB.

"Sometimes..." has the potential to be a big hit song. It may not be a Top 20 hit, but it may linger and linger because it may perform spectacularly on the Adult Top 40 charts. "Beautiful Day" was able to transition from the Modern Rock charts to the Adult Top 40 and that's what helped it succeed. If "Sometimes..." can do this as well, then expect HTDAAB to climb right back up the charts. "Vertigo" did its job - it caught the attention of fans and, more importantly, teens (i.e., new fans). "Sometimes..." may now reach the older audience - the ones that normally don't buy a lot of CDs.

I only hope U2's marketing team doesn't drop the ball here. IMO, they abandoned ABoY. Give "Sometimes..." its due. U2 have already played "Sometimes..." twice on live national TV, so that's a great start. Now, get the song on the front page of iTunes! Get it advertised on MTV and/or VH-1. Get the song on the radio!

In other words, Jick, it's FAR too early for U2 to "throw in the towel" on HTDAAB. "Sometimes..." may be able to revive the album and the tour may keep it going strong. We just need to get "Sometimes..." heard. Perhaps you (or all of us) can start requesting it on the radio. The more this song gets heard, the more requests it'll have and the better it'll do.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:10 PM   #7
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doctorwho, you're one hell of a statistics guy!
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:13 PM   #8
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Exactly doctorwho!

It's too early, and the tour hasn't even started yet.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:20 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Should U2 Abandon HTDAAB And Record A New Album Immediately?

Quote:
Originally posted by Zootlesque


The number of bad reviews on Amazon is just ridiculous. It's crossed even Metallica's St. Anger I think, which in fact was the worst album ever. HTDAAB doesn't deserve all this negativity. It's as if it's cool to dis U2 these days and everybody's doing it.
If there are 20 or less reviews of an item, I will read the comments on Amazon.com as only then do I think they have merit. With so few reviews, it's clear that these people truly own the item and have something worthwhile to say about it.

However, when there are a thousand+ reviews, I don't bother. You'll get the naysayers who write something negative just to be an ass. People didn't like the iTunes ad, so they give HTDAAB a terrible review. Ask these same people in person, and I bet they love the album. These same naysayers were probably the first ones to join U2.com and the first to try to get concert tickets. They were also probably the first to complain about both. But online, they can be asses.

As for dissing U2 - hell, I've been hearing that forever now. In the JT era, I heard people complain how U2 is suddenly "too popular" and now people don't like them. I also heard comments of sell out even back then. With AB, "sell out" was used so often it make my head spin. Clearly U2 hadn't sold out at all - they were doing the exact opposite, but who ever said people were smart?

Come 2005, it's the same thing. People always try to put down anything that's popular or hip. This is true of anyone and anything - U2 is no exception. People root for the underdog - until the underdog succeeds. Then they hate that former underdog.

The album is falling down the charts because there is NOTHING right now to keep it in the public eye. This is true for ANY album. Fantasia's album - last year's American Idol winner - had a decent debut but then quickly fell down the charts. There was nothing to support it other. She finally released a song and it became a hit - hence the album rose back up the charts.

The same with U2. "Vertigo" did a fantastic job. It helped the album debut incredibly well and stay strong throughout the holidays. Now "Vertigo" is gone. ABoY didn't become the huge hit some hoped. As such, there's nothing pushing HTDAAB any more.

"Sometimes..." was just released. As I wrote above, if this song becomes a hit, HTDAAB will rebound right back up the charts. This happens time and time again. I've even seen one of J. Lo's albums (before she had all this negative "Gigli" press) fall out of the Top 100 and then rebound back to the Top 10 thanks to a new hit song. If "Sometimes..." is the hit in the U.S. as it was in the U.K., expect good things for HTDAAB.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:26 PM   #10
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Re: Re: Re: Should U2 Abandon HTDAAB And Record A New Album Immediately?

Quote:
Originally posted by doctorwho

As for dissing U2 - hell, I've been hearing that forever now. In the JT era, I heard people complain how U2 is suddenly "too popular" and now people don't like them. I also heard comments of sell out even back then. With AB, "sell out" was used so often it make my head spin. Clearly U2 hadn't sold out at all - they were doing the exact opposite, but who ever said people were smart?

Come 2005, it's the same thing. People always try to put down anything that's popular or hip. This is true of anyone and anything - U2 is no exception. People root for the underdog - until the underdog succeeds. Then they hate that former underdog.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:32 PM   #11
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What Happened to the Days when People Could Just Enjoy the
Music , I think Too Many People sit in front of a Computer Each
Day , I Say Start Living Your Life By Exploring the World and Bring
U2 Along as A Good Friend
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:39 PM   #12
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i think Vertigo definitly should not have been the first single. It is not a very good song compared to the rest of the album.

The first single should have been All Because of You.
The second should have been Miracle Drug.
And the Third should have been either COBL, Crumbs, or OOTS or Sometimes.

The album woulda done much better this way. And also, there was too much promotion on the 1st single, I think the promotion should have been split between the 1st and 2nd and possibly the 3rd singles.

If I recall, the first 3 singles of ALTYCB were much more popular and then the first 3 of HTDAAB.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shuey
What Happened to the Days when People Could Just Enjoy the
Music , I think Too Many People sit in front of a Computer Each
Day , I Say Start Living Your Life By Exploring the World and Bring
U2 Along as A Good Friend
It's no All That You Can't Leave Behind, but that's a good title nonetheless.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by typhoon

It's no All That You Can't Leave Behind, but that's a good title nonetheless.
You're right! That does kind of sound like a U2 album title.

Now to answer the question -- hell, yeah! I think they should record a new album before the tour starts. And they could set up burn it yourself stations outside each concert venue so it could start distribution (after all, what else are you going to do while waiting in line?). It could be a fun new adventure in music marketing.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:39 PM   #15
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Yeah a sold out tour usually means you need to scrap the album and record another.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:41 PM   #16
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Yes, Bono was tense at the Grammies... because he had back problems as the result of a slipped disc.

Secondly, this album will fly back up the charts after the start of the tour. They've already made millions in the tour and they haven't even played an arena yet.


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Old 03-08-2005, 09:55 PM   #17
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Looks like Jick's other threads were descending too far down the list in the forums so he had to entertain us with this dim bulb of an idea.

But it can't be trolling because he wrote SO MUCH, right? I say it is. Because we are talking about an impossiblity. The band is not going to abandon this tour, or the promotion of the album less than 6 months after its release. J's visions of half-empty arenas on the third leg is so far from reality I can't even fathom it. Even if the majority of the potential concertgoers thought the new album was average (which they don't), they would still go because the band is still a BIG DRAW and has enough famous songs that are likely to be played. Remember how many tickets the Stones sold when they toured the mediocre Bridges to Babylon, Voodoo Lounge, and Steel Wheels albums? U2 are definitely on that level of stardom at this point.

That isn't the case, however. The album has much more positive buzz than granddaddy rock. Just because the album isn't in the top 50 doesn't mean it's a lost cause. Where the hell was Achtung Baby at this point? That went on to sell a shitload of copies.

The reason U2 recorded Zooropa was to capture the creative momentum they had, not to breathe life back into the sagging record sales of Achtung Baby. The idea that a new album, which would likely be much more off the cuff and inherently more experimental (especially after hearing Fast Cars & Mercy), would start selling like crazy when the VERY commercial friendly HTDAAB is dropping just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Let the goddamned thing breathe, for christ's sake. The tour will be getting a LOT of media coverage, and if they're playing anywhere close to as well as they were on Elevation, the good reviews alone will help sell albums. People who don't have it yet will want to know what they'll hear at the show. And AFTER the show, people will likely be converted to a handful of the new songs, enough to convince them to buy it.

Thanks for bringing up another pointless discussion.


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Old 03-08-2005, 09:59 PM   #18
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half empty arenas on the third leg ? are you for real?, where have you been ? . Secondly this was their fastest selling album out of the gate,and still on pace to pass 1st year sales of ATYCLB, even though its probably been downloaded for free more then any other album and album sales in general are down a huge percentage since 2001.
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Old 03-08-2005, 10:32 PM   #19
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oh my.... ... U2 is not selling well in america I think I'm gonna cry

--sarcasm--

...and of course the fact that in this small, not important part of the world... called... "THE REST OF THE WORLD" the album already (even before the tour started) sold ALMOST as much as ATYCLB did... doesn't matter...
In that case I wonder what an excuse the band will find to explain the "bad sales" of HTDAAB... oh I know, they'll say that they didn't finish it (even if they're calling it "one of their best" at the moment), I mean we saw it before right?...
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Old 03-08-2005, 10:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by zoo99
even though its probably been downloaded for free more then any other album and album sales in general are down a huge percentage since 2001.
That is a good point, the album has performed very well considering that we're living in the era of the download. Many people don't even buy CD's in record stores anymore.
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