KiD CuDi's WZRD Debuts At No. 3 Despite Being Swept Under The Rug By Universal

from the the-fans-have-spoken dept

Last week we wrote about WZRD, the new album from KiD CuDi on which he went in an entirely different direction from his usual style. That's the kind of thing that makes big record labels nervous (they'd prefer artists just keep churning out variations on their first success) and CuDi's label Universal Republic was no exception. After the release, CuDi took to Twitter to vent:

Ok so just a heads up, my weak ass label only shipped 55k physicals cuz they treated this like some indie side project tax right off. So i apologize on behalf of my weak ass major label. And I apologize for the lack of promo, again, my weak ass major label. They tried to rush me thru this so i can just give em another MOTM, but guess what? Fuck that, next album is WZRD. MOTM3 on hold til 2014. who mad??? not me and @DotDaGenius. So its def gonna be tough to find one in the stores guys, I'm sorry about that.

Apparently fans were prepared to make the effort, because WZRD debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. This is especially funny in the wake of RIAA CEO Cary Sherman's recent interview, in which he claimed record labels were needed to "separate the wheat from the chaff" and "designate who is worth promoting and marketing". It seems the legacy gatekeepers aren't quite as good at curation as they think—at least I bet Universal is wishing they'd gotten a few more copies of WZRD out there, and put some promotional weight behind the project. Maybe, if they'd put a little faith in their own artist, they could have had a #1 on their hands.

Filed Under: kid cudi, labels, music, promotion, wzrd
Companies: universal music, universal republic

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 8 Mar 2012 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re: I'm confused...

    Touched a nerve there, did I? Sorry...

    The point is that physical sales require the product to *actually be on the shelves* in order for the sale to be made. If the small shipping number meant that a large number of stores didn't have the CD on the shelf, then sales would be lower than if they had. I'm clearly not talking about queues of people climbing over each other to get their hands on the product. I'm talking about how people not making the impulse buy at the Wal Mart checkout or not seeing the album in the new releases section reduces sales.

    My comment was merely this - how many of Cudi's fans usually pick up the CD as opposed to just buying digitally? If there weren't enough to service that base, sales were lost. Not everybody buys digitally, not everybody wants digital, and even those who do might make the odd impulse or gift buy on CD - but only if the CD's there for them to buy in the first place. Low shipping rates means less shelves with CDs and thus less sales, up to the point of saturation for that artist.

    "Yes it's an assumption and based on current tech trends. "

    It's a baseless assumption, where you deign to criticise the artist himself - who would surely be aware of the usual spilt between digital and physical as well as the usual shipping numbers he'd expect. His personal experiences may well differ considerably from typical trends. Sorry, that bears more weight than your assumptions.

    As I mentioned above, you may still be correct, but there's a number of other possibilities, including the possibility that the label is in fact very bad at predicting demand and have lost sales as a result.

    "Are iPods now fitted with a CD reader?"

    Yes, it's called iTunes or any other ripping software. Some people still prefer to buy the physical product for various reasons, then rip it. The guy who wanted the CD to rip to his preferred FLAC format, but couldn't because not enough CDs were shipped, loses out.

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