On Second Thought, SoundScan Claims Mos Def T-Shirt Doesn't Count As An Album Sale

from the that's-pretty-silly dept

On Friday, we thought that Mos Def's experiment with selling an album via a t-shirt (whereby if you bought the t-shirt, you got to download the album) was a pretty cool idea. What seemed even cooler was the claim that Nielsen Soundscan would count each t-shirt sale as an album sale. However, Soundscan has come out claiming this simply is not true:
"Nielsen Soundscan knows nothing about this and without knowing more, we have no intention of counting units triggered by the sale of a t-shirt."
The company offering up the t-shirts tried to explain, saying:
Instead of directly reporting retail sales through his company, Invisible DJ, Wineberg plans to relay the information back to the label. The label, in turn, can then submit the sale to Soundscan.
Hmm. That's not quite the same thing as saying Soundscan will count the t-shirt sales? And, it may be even worse, as Soundscan said it may count those sales submitted by the label, but only after "a discussion and negotiation." In other words, there's no real deal here at all, and nothing to suggest that the t-shirts will be counted as album sales.

Of course, that's ridiculous. In this era when the "music" is getting people to buy other stuff, the specific number of "album" sales is meaningless. We've seen artists who embrace these unique models making a lot more money from them, but they don't appear as top sellers because Soundscan only wants to count one (increasingly smaller) part of the ecosystem? That sort of thinking reinforces the misguided focus on the "album."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    Soundscan: A buggy whip counting company.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Chargone, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 6:08pm

    Re:

    the fun thing about that analogy is it makes them sound even More useless ^_^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 6:14pm

    "That sort of thinking reinforces the misguided focus on the "album." "

    Actually, that sort of thinking reinforces the (missing) focus on the "music".

    it's too bad that we are down to having to be circus freaks to be able to get people to buy music, tricking them into it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    Re:

    I agree, the labels are circus freaks

    Music occurs when someone creates it.
    What you are referring to is a copy of that music.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 6:41pm

    Soundscan is selling information

    Soundscan's product is information -- comparative album sales. When it decides to make that information less accurate, it greatly devalues its own product's usefulness.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Soundscan is selling information

    Except that Mos Def ain't selling albums, he is selling t-shirts.

    Maybe he should check ShirtScan for more info on his sales.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    bob, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 7:59pm

    I wonder how it happened in the first place

    Sound scan is an industry whore, I expected this.

    Sell the T shirt for $20 and I might buy it.
    But not for $60.
    Go ask Marvin what he thinks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Ilfar, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Now when something like NY Times does this...

    In all fairness, had NY Times reported this and then had to say the information was wrong, someone would be jumping all over this as further proof that paid journalists aren't necessarily any better than blog-type fellows... ;)

    That out of the way, I think that, if you're buying the shirt for the album, then shouldn't it count as an album sale? I don't see anyone buying the shirt purely as a shirt and not at least partly for the album. There are albums out there that have come with free shirts, aren't there? Do they get counted?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Felix Pleşoianu, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:21pm

    "We've seen artists who embrace these unique models making a lot more money from them"

    And you expect the dinosaurs clinging on the old, obsolete models to record data that supports the new models? Why do you think the big media have a problem with facts in general? Precisely because facts tend to speak against them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    Re: I wonder how it happened in the first place

    It's part of what makes this all so funny. $60 t-shirt? Who are we trying to fool here? This isn't a unique new model, it's just greed. $10 t-shirt plus $10 of music = $60? The public is stupid,but they WILL figure it out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 22nd, 2009 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Now when something like NY Times does this...

    In all fairness, had NY Times reported this and then had to say the information was wrong, someone would be jumping all over this as further proof that paid journalists aren't necessarily any better than blog-type fellows...

    Hmm. Actually it was Billboard -- a pro publication -- that reported it, and it was a blog that found it was wrong.

    What's your point now?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Sammie Houston (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 4:27am

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  13.  
    icon
    No Imagination (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Assuming I understand exactly what SoundScan does (provide information about record sales), then yes, of course it us something they have to really think about (counting the T-Shirt as a sale).

    I mean, what if I sold 20,000 pens on ebay, and threw in a copy of my latest 'album' for download... I don't think that makes me a successful musician. Think this is simply an aspect of the industry (Soundscan) catching up with the changes in the market.

    At least they are willing to consider the issue.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    It is sort of the "tie a porkchop around your neck so the dog will play with you".

    You could become the "best selling" musician just by giving away your music at McDonalds - every big mac is a free CD. Billions and Billions served - but you won't make a cent, it will cost you like crazy to get MickeyDs to do the work, but damn, you will be the top selling artist.

    That's why they won't count T-shirt sales, because it is meaningless. If people aren't buying the album for the album, there is no music sale.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re:

    ...except the T-shirt sales actually make money for the artist?

    "I sold $1 million worth of CD's!"
    "I sold $3 million worth of T-shirts!"
    "But how much did you make off of CD's?"
    "Nothing."
    "Haha, I'm better than you."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Only if the public is stupid enough to pay $60 for a t-shirt.

    Ask Mos Def a year from now how many new sales, when the stores won't carry his over priced t-shirts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Re: Now when something like NY Times does this...

    Just rephrase it ..... you are getting free Merchandise (a tee shirt) for buying the album....

    I dont get the difference between ...

    "buy the tee shirt get the album free"
    "buy the album get the tee shirt free"

    .... must be something in the water out in California ....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh yes, because heaven forbid that anyone dare to change their marketing scheme when the current one starts declining in sales. Flexibility and innovation = poor business, after all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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