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.”

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Companies: nielsen

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

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Ilfar says:

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?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

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?

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No Imagination (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

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