Jamaican Music

Tessanne “Count on My Love” Low CD sales, is it too early to Panic?

The enthusiastic euphoria surrounding Tessanne Chin success as season five winner of the “Voice” seems have lost its momentum. As the headline “Tessanne Chin’s “Count on My Love” Album Pacing to Flop” appeared as the official report of her debut album sales, in Herdline Report, many are wondering what happen. The initial CD sales are disappointing to say the least.  Count On My Love sold 6623 copies in its first week of release, with 4986 copies sold digital to place the album at No. 20 on the Billboard digital chart.

Season three winner Cassadee Pope “Frame by Frame” sold 43,000 first week while season four Danielle Bradbery self-titled CD “Danielle Bradbery” sold 41,000.

Given the negative image of Jamaicans music over the last several years, the back story is many hoped her success would be a bright light and the turning point would be a best-selling album.  According to Herdline report “available sales data from Hits Daily Double…“Count on My Love,” …will not break the top fifteen on next week’s album sales chart.” Even more ominous Chin CD, according to reported album sales, is looking more like season one winner Javier Colon, who had the poorest sales of all previous winners. His “Come Through My Love” moved slightly less than 10,000 copies in its first week.”  Tessanne’s “Count on My Love” sold a reported 6,000 units and is on track to flop at retail. Walmart store report 1637 copies sold. According to the report ‘Count on My Love’ needs a weekly sales count of only 15-17,000 to secure a place in the weekly top 15. The album debut at No. 6 on iTunes but dropped #36 on the iTunes Album Sales chart.

Equally disappointing the singles off the album, despite the production work of hit producers like Stargate, Jerry ‘Wonda’ Duplessis and Supa Dups, also failed to chart on Billboard Hot 100.

What happen, where is the response from team Tessanne, where is Republic Records’, a division of Universal Music Group UMG, support?

To get some answers I talked to  Anthony Turner, publicist and one of the coordinator of the diaspora team that galvanized support during Tessanne’s run up to winning the voice, the gammy winning multiplatinum producer Sean ‘Sting International” Pizzonia and Billboard writer Pat Maschino.

For ‘Sting International’ a straight pop album may have been a miscalculation. The exclusion of culturally sensitive tracks from the album may her ethnic core base audience feeling left out.  Especially since the Jamaican flavored tracks that were so well received by the international audience and helped her voice win the “Voice.” Turner feels that despite her enormous talent there may have been missed opportunities in terms of marketing and promotion for the run to the album release. The single release ‘Tumbling Down’ has not been programmed for heavy rotation play in important urban markets like New York. This is hurting the single’s crossover appeal. Also the label or management missed another opportunity as Tessanne headlined the New York “Orcasbessa Music Festival”, in May, one of the biggest music events in the largest urban radio market in the country. There was no coordinated marketing or Public relation campaign to maximize the promotion of the debut release of Count on My Love among her 10-15,000 fan base who showed up to support her. New York is the biggest urban market in the music business and lack of marketing promotion support usually hurt the sales of a record. 

Walmart has exclusive retail rights to sell the album. However, Stafford Perkins, a real estate agent from Long Island posted this on his Facebook page “whether online or their brick and mortar stores the album is not available.” He asked the question could this be sabotage.  Also, another question being asked is what percentage of her fan-base shops at Walmart?  Could this be another factor in the low sales showing?

Maschino argues that career wise her concert appearance s have been designed to maximize her as hot commodity as opposed to building her brand and exposing her into new markets. As one middle class fan from suburbia Mary land noted, what is her brand, she won the voice with a lot of covers but save releasing those covers, as new artist she needs to establish an identifiable brand beyond the songs she captured the international market attention with on the voice.

While it can be argued that major labels tend to support and favor American Idol winners more that the Voice is it Tess-Anne’s team’s responsibility to create and build her brand and have the label get behind her. Since major labels are reluctant to invest in the development of new artist, it has now become the artist responsibility to build their brand.  It would have been useful to have used and exploited the resource of mass mobilization of tremendous support that the diaspora gave her across, the US, Canada and the UK that helped win the voice to support her album sales. Sales of 15-25,000 would have been a realistic goal had the diaspora support team been reactivated in support of the album sales.

The question I have been asked a journalist is, where Adam Levine in all of this is? Given his strong support of Tessanne during the competition, why wasn’t he been a part of the production team. It may well be that Levine has moved on and it was naïve to believe he would provide support beyond the voice.

As Tessanne heads for Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, Jamaica, returns to NYC, August 29!! HOT 97’s summer jam On Da Reggae Tip, continue  the ‘Voice Tour” let’s hope there is a strategic marketing plan to use the tour to maximize the sales of Count on My Love, and any of the singles. Friday, August 29!! HOT 97’s biggest reggae party of the summer: On Da Reggae Tip 2014!

The answer to the question is no it is not time to panic

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About the author

Winston Stan Evan Smith

Senior Editor and North East Media Coordinator for Jamaicans.com