Does media hype actually help sell albums?
Not if the first-day sales figures for Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" are any indication. Although a few local retailers reported strong sales for the album, most said that its first-day business was less than thrilling.
"It seems like there's been a backlash recently," said Roberta Cowan, the manager at An Die Musik in Towson. By Tuesday evening, her store had sold only three copies of the album; by comparison, she said, U2's new album, "Achtung Baby," has sold 30 to 40 copies on its first day of release.
Things weren't quite so slow at Record World's White Marsh Mall store. "It's doing better than I thought," said senior assistant manager Louis Maistros. By 7 p.m., Maistros said his store had sold 20 copies on cassette, and 15 on CD. "But on the first day for Guns N' Roses, we did 100 of each," he added.
Mike Richman, owner of the Recordmasters chain, said business at his stores was mixed. "Dangerous" was selling well at Recordmasters' Reisterstown Road Plaza outlet, which traditionally does well with R&B, but sales were "mediocre" at his Rotunda outlet. Still, he said, "It's a bit early to be making a decision about how it's going to do."
Sales were brisk at Record Theatre on Liberty Road, which had sold 80 copies by dinner time, but assistant manager Vicki Marshall credited some of that to a remote broadcast from the store by radio station V-103. And contrary to Jackson's reputation as a youth-market act, Marshall reported that her customers were "primarily adults," adding, "I get the impression they were buying for themselves."
Mike Curry, a sales clerk at the Tower Records in Annapolis, also said that Jackson's album was selling mostly to a "mature" crowd.
"We're getting a lot of people coming in with their families," he said. And while he had expected first-day sales to be rather slow: "We're expecting it to sell big this weekend," he said.