Album sales information?

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Album sales information?

Postby Slope on Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:17 am

Just wondering if anyone had any info on how many copies the Japan, and/or solo members work has sold?

I really have no idea what to expect, other than enough money must be generated by the releases for continued recording to be viable.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby karnsculpture on Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:40 am

I have sketchy information only, the most recent being Nine Horses which apparently sold 12,000 copies (worldwide of the UK pressing). That information is at least 3 years old though and I'm going from memory.

All of the Japan albums eventually went Silver in the UK, selling 50,000 copies each. I think Assemblage and Tin Drum went Gold (100,000 copies). Adolescent Sex and Obscure Alternatives went Gold (100,000 copies) in Japan, not sure if any of the other albums did but they were all successful. Important to note that in the UK and Japan, awards are allocated for SHIPMENTS not actual sales, which is why some groups albums are said to get sales awards when they are blatantly clogging up the bargain bins.

Since the Japan days its very much been a law of diminishing returns

On CD, most of the UK remasters have shipped around the 10,000 mark for each title (based on 2 pressings of 5000 each in 2003/4 and 2006) - some of those copies are still out there of course. Given that, and the 12,000 Nine Horses figure, plus the amount of concert tickets sold by Sylvian in 2004 and 2007, you get a good idea of the number of "active" Sylvian fans in the UK (meaning people who buy CDs and concert tickets), is around the 10,000 mark IMHO.

I do have a spreadsheet somewhere on my computer detailing sales of various albums since 2000 - some of the Japan compilations sold as few as 1000 copies, with Armory's "The Collection" being the lowest at 500. No idea what Jansen, Barbieri or Karn have sold, though with chart placings, re-issues and special editions Porcupine Tree must be doing alright.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby Despair on Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:06 pm

Paul, thats really interesting.
Where is this info available ???

Also, if a compilation is so low in sales...why do they keep gettin released ??? On this info alone, it would seem the packaging and all round effort to release such things are minimal in cost.
So, if Nine Horses did what you say.....how much hard cash would Sylvian be getting ???
Its fascinating, only because, the temptation to reform JAPAN must have been massive, and im sure it was something that was mentioned countless times by Mr Chadwick :D
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby Slope on Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:35 am

Thanks for replying, that's interesting stuff.

I had kind of anticipated the diminishing returns - one has to wonder where the financing comes from to record and release, with such small sales (even on an independent level). Touring, of course will bring in revenue, but as only Richard tours regularly with PT, it makes me wonder how the other guys can logistically still do it. I'm delighted that they do, having said that!
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby karnsculpture on Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:51 am

Despair wrote:Paul, thats really interesting.
Where is this info available ???


Information on the sales of the remasters came from BMG and Virgin, I was in contact throughout the remastering and reissuing process, nothing in the last couple of years though. Information on the sales of compilations etc came from a fan who works in the industry as a freelancer and who is able to get the information.

Despair wrote:Also, if a compilation is so low in sales...why do they keep gettin released ??? On this info alone, it would seem the packaging and all round effort to release such things are minimal in cost.
So, if Nine Horses did what you say.....how much hard cash would Sylvian be getting ???
Its fascinating, only because, the temptation to reform JAPAN must have been massive, and im sure it was something that was mentioned countless times by Mr Chadwick :D


The compilations make money if they are cheap to put together (and they are if they don't include anything previously unreleased) and if the manufacturing run will sell. The reason why we so rarely get anything "new" on these compilations is because to do so would cost money e.g. sourcing the tapes, baking them, getting them digitised, getting permission from the artists to use them (anything unreleased may need to go through several hoops to get released - all taking time in administration and relationship management), then there's the artwork, anything at all new or interesting will cost money.

So, the cheap way is to just use what the record company already has (no pesky artists to consult) and to use a quickly photoshopped version of a photo or piece of artwork owned by the company already. Then, the manufacturing and packing is cheap as chips, bung out the CD for a fiver and watch the money trickle in. In Japan's case, very little in terms of royalties goes to the artist (especially in relation to the material owned by Sony/BMG) and if we are to ever get anything unreleased Japan would have to be consulted, and understandably they'd want to be paid fairly, so with record company budgets as they are, it'll never happen.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby billster on Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:39 am

Sylvian does, and always has made his living from publishing, not sales.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby sisterlondon on Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:39 am

Dunno about the PT sales, but if I am not wrong, Fear of a Blank Planet peaked at number 31 in the UK. The Incident was number 12 in the UK, which is a good improvement! It was 5 in the Netherlands (FOABP was 13 there). I think that it was 15 in the US or something around that :)
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby Slope on Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:22 pm

billster wrote:Sylvian does, and always has made his living from publishing, not sales.


Billster, can I ask how that works? I'm not doubting you - I just don't know how "the business" works.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby opiate on Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:20 pm

The 'business' is a minefield of legal wheeling and dealing and good pickings for those who go into it without a clue. This book here - http://www.amazon.com/Need-Know-About-Music-Business/dp/1439153019/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281376998&sr=1-1 All You Need to Know About The Music Business is an invaluable insight into how it all works (without the jargon). Well worth a read if remotely interested :)
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby digimarsh on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:08 am

Interesting info ,it makes you realise how much of a challenge running Samadhi must be in terms of budget ect ,when sales are so modest, i presume the figures do not include digital downloads,(but theyn probably are minimal too).
a footnote to all this ,is that i have always wondered what sort of wealth David has accumulated throughout his musical career, despite his genial talents he probably has not shifted as many records as he maybe should,so i often think just exactly how wealthy is David Sylvian!
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby Simonp on Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:14 am

digimarsh wrote:Interesting info ,it makes you realise how much of a challenge running Samadhi must be in terms of budget ect ,when sales are so modest, i presume the figures do not include digital downloads,(but theyn probably are minimal too).
a footnote to all this ,is that i have always wondered what sort of wealth David has accumulated throughout his musical career, despite his genial talents he probably has not shifted as many records as he maybe should,so i often think just exactly how wealthy is David Sylvian!


I recall in an interview around the time of DBOAC David stated that he "has never been in so much debt than I find myself now". I think Ingrid has helped him over the years financially as well as emotionally
MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON MANAFON
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby karnsculpture on Tue Aug 10, 2010 12:42 pm

Its actually not that expensive to manufacture CDs if you can be sure that they will sell. Even going down the independent route they can be made for less than £2 UKP each (if ordering in bulk) including packaging, so if they can be sold for £10 UKP+ and if recording costs have been kept low (recording in your own studio helps), the enterprise need not lose money.

It gets expensive if you're using the talents of other artists, travelling to meetings or to attend recording sessions etc (I'm thinking of Sylvian here). Interesting that he talked about employing a kind of barter system for Manafon (mentioned on another thread) - great way to get pro players.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby Bern on Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:19 am

Sylvian has been in the music business a number of years now in fact I don't think he has ever done anything else but I have never got the impression money was a great motivator, certainly in the Japan days he refused to tour on a number of occaisons when Hansa rereleases were having chart success which would have generated revenue and increased the bands profile and he could quite easily have kept Japan going a little longer if he had wanted as the band split at their sales peak, it will be interesting though with two children in the US whether he feels the need to get some money together for college funds, but yeh other than the odd suit I can't think of any extravagant purchases he has ever made maybe he has a load of cash under the bed (or mattress to save on buying a bed)
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby digimarsh on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:11 pm

Yes there is no doubt that Sylvian has never been motivated by huge financial reward, lets face it ,as you say,Japan could have stayed together for another 3 or 4 years and made a mint.It's a testament to his artistic faith that he made such sacrfices.
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Re: Album sales information?

Postby opiate on Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:37 pm

Yes, it would have a difference to financials staying together but its got fuck all to do with Sylvian calling the shots for "artistic faith". Mick was out of there and so therefore the band disintegrated, one way or another. Finance was never the goal but its a pragmatic goal as you can't survive without income and so forth. Japan were totally screwed over contract wise but were prudent enough at least to be convinced to do a final tour despite personal differences and just see it through for a bit of money.

At the end of the day (and I hate using that phrase) they did what they had to, collectively. It just annoys me to think the band was just about Sylvians decisions as that is not the case.
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