Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Buyer Beware

Many are expressing surprise that Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy sold only 255k in its first week as a Best Buy exclusive. But those who have closely analyzed the situation say that comparing GNR’s total with the 802k tallied by AC/DC in its Wal-Mart exclusive is like comparing apples and oranges, in that radically different circumstances surrounded the two projects.

AC/DC outsold GNR by nearly 500k not because of any particular difference between the two retailers, but as a result of the amount of exposure AC/DC had leading up to release relative to Guns—and most of the blame for that rests at the feet of Axl Rose. IGA and Best Buy were handicapped on a number of levels, due in large part to Rose’s refusal to participate in the setup—dramatically reducing the ability of the label and Best Buy to market the release.

Contrast this situation to Columbia’s superbly orchestrated campaign for AC/DC’s Black Ice, overseen by a highly motivated Steve Barnett, who has a long, close history with the band. AC/DC seemed to be everywhere on TV, radio and the Internet in the weeks leading up to release, spiking the perfectly calibrated campaign by announcing its tour in the midst of the ramp-up and kicking it off just days after Black Ice went to market.

By contrast, Rose submitted to no TV or press interviews, nor did he choose take his band on the road behind the release, while no official video has yet surfaced. AC/DC has also had a far greater radio presence, leading some to wonder why IGA would be motivated to pour additional marketing and promotion dollars into the record after pocketing $14m in the one-way sale of 1.6m units.

Factor in that this was Best Buy’s first exclusive with a major release from a high-profile act, while Wal-Mart pioneered the arrangement back in 2005 with Garth Brooks. And some are asking whether Best Buy had sufficient time to do its own setup, given the fact that Rose didn’t approve the final artwork until a few weeks prior to the release date.

Source: Hits Daily Double

The above report, if true, is disconcerting.

This means that Best Buy paid $8.75 for discs that they retailed for $11.99.

The 14 Million effectively wiped out Axl Rose's debt to his label.

Of course, Axl's inability to play along is nothing new.

If you remember, he sued his own label to block the release of Greatest Hits.

He's canceled more concerts than he's played over the last 15 years.

Now he's suing Dr. Pepper for a campaign that he was very happy to have the support of.

Axl Rose is like the fuckin' mafia. You just don't want to get involved with him at all.

In fact, I'm not even sure I want to write this for threat of legal action from the team of 4 lawyers he keeps on retainer.

If he didn't own the brand name, I can't see why anyone would be foolish enough to continue to do business with him - which kind of explains why he fought so hard for the band name in the first place. Slash said in his book that Axl was afraid the band was going to replace him because he'd become so impossible to work with, that he forced them to sign the name over under duress while they waited backstage for him to go on. "Sign this or I don't go on stage."

Cross him and he'll fire you - if you work for him.

Beat you - if you're one of his women, or screw you royally - if you, like Best Buy did, do business with him.

Message to Irving Azoff and Andy Gould: Be careful. You're next.



Brandonio! said...

Yeah Axl's a bitch all right.The more that is revealed about this puss the more i hate him.The dude needs to grow up ,and be a fuckin' man for once in his life.What a freakin' waste of talent.

bandonox said...

this is all very disappointing.

Omar said...


How do I say this gently?

What the FUCK are you guys on about?!

Axl Rose doesn't owe any of us a damned thing. The man is a musician, he's an artist, he makes songs - it's our choice to hear the songs he makes, and it's our choice to pay for that privilege. If you feel so strongly against the guy, then stop wasting time thinking of him, and just boycott his material.

The fact of the matter is that he is a brilliant musician, songwriter and vocalist, and considering the output of the previous members over the last few years - I'm GLAD that Axl is the one who owns the name.

Now you're pissed off that he hasn't 'prostituted' himself enough to wake up the dead through the media and through interviews so that they can get off their asses and pay him for the cd? WTF?

I'm a musician myself, and I just went to get interviewed by a magazine a couple of days ago - despite the friendliness of the reporter, the whole experience is always suspect. You keep thinking "Why the hell am I here? Everything you need to know is in the music." - and you know that the only reason you're there is to help spread your music a little. Axl knows he's got fans, and knows his music WILL be heard - so his reluctance to play the media game is more than understandable. If this upsets some 'fans' who are disappointed because the sales figures haven't 'justified' their fandom - well, then boo-fraggin-hoo.

Also - as for the figures - I don't care. I've done my part, after downloading everything just to get it QUICKLY - I then ordered TWO copies of the CD to have paid my share and to have contributed to the overall sales as much as I can. My thoughts are that I'm not unique in this approach, and I expect that many fans WILL pay for the album - it's just that with the net being what it is - they can get it right now - and they're in no hurry to buy the actual cd - but I trust that many eventually will - just to give the man his due.

And Black Ice? Is that a joke? I heard the material. Nothing there that AC/DC haven't already done a zillion times. Over and over and over and over.

Give the guy a break, he's not your employee, nor is he mine.

Omar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"How do I say this gently?"

Fuck, why the hell are you all concerned with sales and Axl's character? Is the latter a surprise to you all? Is it the first time that he acted in peaks of depression, reclusion and paranoia? Is it the 1st time he fisically abused women? Is it the 1st time he doublecrossed someone in business matters (e.g. Vicky Hamilton)?

I'm going with Omar on this: you seem to turn to Axl to blame for the album "not selling enough". WTF DOES IT MATTER? Axl is about the music, and since I don't have any kind of relationship with him, i really don't give a shit if he doesn't do promotion. The all problem with not doing promotion for most of you seem to be that sales don't go up, and really, REALLY, i don't care. I've had enough of over exposure in the UYI era. I can't handle, as a fan, being mistaken for hit radio consumer, and that's what happened with the whole November Rain/Don't Cry euphoria.

I'll give you an example: in Portugal we have a Literary Nobel Prize winner called Saramago (one of his books made one of the movies of the year, "Blindness"). He always goes #1 for a week or 2. He doesn't do promotion, he doesn't do interviews, and the guy sells like hell. There: he maintains his art, he does the minimum (1 book every 2/3 years) and the guy won the Nobel Prize.

Mack: your comments sound increasingly bitter and angry towards Axl. I don't know you or why that aggression. For years we've known Axl's character, so it's not new. Why this? Why now?


dilligaf said...

just a wild theory here, but could the release of cd coincide also result in guns no longer being with the record company, now a free agent like nin. if this was a forced release like it sounds, axl with the help of azoff & gould got the money universals wanted to re-coup and now are basically saying fuck you, you got your money, and now thats happened they owe the record company nothing. theoretically there would be a 'cooling off' period before he could do his own thing.

what ever the story its a pain in the ass, i believe the fans deserve to hear from him.

Brandonio! said...

If Axl wasn't so interested in music sales,why would he make the rest of the members of GNR sign over the name of the band to him.Money! that's why,greed,ego.Personally the sales don't really matter to me.It's the fact that Axl is still a social recluse.He never should have signed with a record company if he doesn't want pressure like that.Hell he could start his very own label,and release his own material in his own fashion as he see's put.There are people out there with way less money,doing the same thing

So now Axl has released the album nobody thought
would see the light of day.Now what?The way I see it Axl is now a free agent in the thing we call life.Spread your wings dude,and fly away.

Omar said...

"If Axl wasn't so interested in music sales,why would he make the rest of the members of GNR sign over the name of the band to him.Money! that's why,greed,ego"

Money is not the only explanation - it's just as likely - if not more so - that Axl wanted CREATIVE control - and again - considering things like Snakepit, Velvet Revolver, etc - I can't say I'm surprised - the others (I'm sorry to say this) have no vision, no sense of direction. Axl wanted to make sure he was driving. Fair enough, I say.

Anonymous said...

as far as I'm concerned, Axl should had not gathered name rights for the band. And I'm not talking about 95', since I believe it was clear that Axl was the only one managing and controling is own addictions, unlike Slash or Duff.
Being a paranoid and control freak, the 2 guys gave him what he needed to frame is own will. So back then, he was right.

But as far what happened after Slash and Duff finally quit...I don't think Axl should have kept the name Guns n' Roses. Particularly since I don't believe in a reunion, and I don't think Axl wants it either, Chinese Democracy is, indeed, Axl's solo album. So what's the point in trying to keep alive something that is already dead?

In my opinion, greed and money were not the reasons. If it were for the money, do u think Axl would still be doing music, with all the crap and jokes and pressure he had to deal with in the last decade?! Look at Velvet Revolver or even at Izzy's career,l or even Adlers' pathetic "band": who the hell do u think is buying records? Guns n' Roses fans. And it would be just the same with Axl's solo album, so there would be money floating around to support his Malibu mansion and the Bailey family, along with Lebeis assistant and the girls from Playboy Mansion, no worries.

Please bear in mind this one: Axl, when he began recording Chinese Democracy, had money more than enough to lead a comfortable life. He's not doing it for the money. Why the hell is doing it for? Read the interviews through out the years, and you'll understand why: it's an emotional outlet for him, which means that half of the times doing music means also threatening his own mental balance.