Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When 2.5 Million Twitter Followers Doesn't Result In Sales

Soulja Boy is one of the most prolific Twitter users of any music celebrity. It's nothing for him to tweet 15 to 20 times a day, and sometimes as many as 70! As a result, he's amassed over 2.5 Twitter followers, an impressive amount by any stretch of the imagination, and a is study in fan communication.

While this has helped Soulja Boy sell singles ("Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)" is the 14th best selling download of all time at 4.5 million), his massive Twitter following hasn't helped when it comes to album sales. In its first week after release he sold only 13,000 (11k physical and 2k digital) of his new album "DeAndre Way."

SB appeared to do everything right in terms of promotion. He kept his fans engaged, tweeted daily about the album's availability, and included an iTunes link. Yet even his first single from the album, "Pretty Boy Swag," sold below expectations, although at 590,000 downloads, it seems pretty good to me.

So what went wrong? Here's what I think.

1) As I discussed in my post last week, "6 Reasons Why The Album Format Died," it's likely that Soulja Boy's audience does not buy albums, even from someone they like.

2) Could it be that the audience just doesn't like Soulja Boy's new music? We've seen time and time again, that all the promotion and fan engagement in the world just won't sell something that no one wants.

3) Could SB be the flavor of the month, and the month is over? This is what happens to big label singles artists. It's extremely difficult to build a lasting fan base because you're only hot until the next fad appears on the scene.

All that being said, almost 600,000 downloads is nothing to sneeze at, expectations or not. I wouldn't weep for the guy just yet.

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