This week, April 21st to be exact, Adam Lambert releases a requiste pre-album single called “Ghost Town” to a throng of thirsty fans who have been three years waiting for more original Adam Lambert music.
The question many of Adam’s long duration core fans have is:
“What kind of investment is Lambert’s new label, Warner Music Group (WMG) making to promote their new artist and his upcoming album titled The Original High?” and “Will this be the year for Adam’s music to dominate the charts and get radio play?”
Despite the extended wait for new music, the Glamberts have managed to thrive on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness Lambert’s vocal engine and performance chops firing on all cylinders during his 2014-2015 world tour as frontman to rock legends Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen.
The tour reviews and audience reaction were unified in positive accolades for not only Lambert, but the entire Queen + AL concert experience being masterfully staged by an elite and professional team.
Lambert is now aptly poised to take his solo career to supersonic heights from a golden launch pad supported by the stellar tour revews, his new label WMG, his management DMG, the UK public relations firm Edge Publicity, and of course, his current partnership with dynamic hit producers Max Martin and Shellback for his new album “The Original High.”
Starting on January 29th 2015, fans have received a steady drip of information such as: album title, song title, flirtatiously chosen snippets, lyric hints, magazine covers and pop headlines all leading up to “Ghost Town’s” launch day of April 21st.
It’s a new era that is about to unfold, Lambert says and further describes this project as fresh, yet dark, grounded, yet surreal. (HungerTV Interview)
The lucky few who have heard Ghost Town’s full 3 minute and 28 second play seemed to have succumbed to it’s ‘voodoo’ as they spout unique strings of adjectives to describe that first listen.
From a simple but powerful “WOW” to more urban-esque expresions such as:
All of the pre-launch sensory teasers and melt in your mouth nuggets are looking, tasting and sounding mighty fine, a bit mysterious, yet synchronized like a rare series of aligning stars stealthly exerting their forces to energize market anticipation.
From this author’s point of view, and as a seasoned fan from Adam’s Idol beginnings, the good news appears to be that Lambert’s team players and his new label are at mission control, running the show, and it is a beautiful thing!
The Difference Three Years Can Make
With just a bit of research and a look through the IFPI Market Report 2015, one can almost hold their footing long enough upon the shifting sands of the music industry to observe that Warner Music Group could be the right label at the right time for Lambert’s new album in 2015.
WMG CEO Steve Cooper remarked clearly in December of 2014 that WMG is accelerating it’s commitment to embrace the digital transformation and to build and secure sustainable and fair compensation models for artists and their label.
REMINDER: In May of 2012 Lambert launched the”Trespassing” album (under the label RCA) and although it garnered him the title of first openly gay artist to debut an album at #1 on the Billboard’s Top 200; the momentum faded. There was no American tour and the highly praised compilation of songs with its series of eclectic overlooked hits is now a rare gem waiting to be discovered by a new audience that flocks to Adam’s music portfolio after hearing his new Era 3 album: “The Original High.”
Looking back to 2012, (Global) digital channel platforms such as streaming and permanent download were growing boldly in revenue but not quite ready to leap frog physical format sales.
Step forward to 2014 and the numbers show that digital channel revenue and physical format revenue are neck in neck, both holding 46% and the remaining 8% share attributed to performance rights.
The stage is now set for 2015 to be the watershed year that sees a new leader. Digital revenue will likely dethrone the long standing king of physical sales.
Question is: What does this all mean for Adam’s “The Original High” album and how fans choose to ‘consume’ it?
If one drills down a bit further into the market stats in the IFPI Market Report 2015, there are some key points to consider regarding the balancing act split between consumer trends of buying physical and/or going digital.
Keep buying physical – compensation to the artist is clear
First, physical purchases of CDs may be declining on the whole in the USA, but the 2015 revenue promises to remain as solid importance and should not be overlooked because in contrast, the robustly growing digital access services such as Spotify, Rdio, YouTube, Beats and others are still hammering out compensation models for artists and rights holders. This is a work in progress and getting the revenue into the artist’s pocket has not been fully realized.
As inferred earlier, Warner Music Group is leading the charge to innovate and evolve with consumer preferred trends through partnerships and business models that close the ‘value gap’.
The value gap essentially refers to the fact that revenue growth for digital streaming channels and other platforms who rely on music as key content are ‘milking’ the music, but the value is not always returned to the artists and other rights holders in fair proportion.
Narrowing the value gap involves the additional challenge of redefining the perceptions of the youngest demographic of music consumers who are conditioned by exposure to ‘freemium’ streaming tiers, Youtube, and other downloading sources to view music with shades of systemic entitlement rather than as a creation with value that should be paid for. (The Swift scare)
Downloaded sales build Top Chart excitment
Second, while digital streaming is forward in growth, the download of permanent digital music such as iTunes and Amazon is declining, but the permanent download share (as per 2014) still represents the greatest revenue within the combined digital platforms.
Additionally, the download sector continues to exert an upper hand when defining influence for radio play, charting and RIAA certifications.
Streaming songs boosts longevity metrics
Third, and continuing the concept of influence rather than revenue in the US; the music industry ecosystem is coming to terms with measuring and integrating many data sources as viable influence patterns into the Billboard and Nielsen Entertainment top ranking lists. This shift in standards for metric sources bodes well for a broader field of artists.
For instance, physical sales may push a song or album to the top of the charts the first week, but now with the influence of song streams being counted; the ‘bump-and-slump’ effect that is typical for physical sales could be minimized.
Artists will have the opportunity to maintain solid charting positions based on inclusion of weeks, months or more of real time listeners staying engaged with their music. Additionally, artists who do not debut in the Top lists could make a slow climb in popularity and be recognized for this as their audience grows and remains loyal by consistently streaming digital.
The orchestration and choreography of Adam Lambert’s new music release by his team (while navigating the ever changing playing field) looks very promising for 2015. His label, WMG is clearly investing in the overall success of his talents and WMG stands as a key player in the transition to digital platforms and pushing for fair compensation models. The partnership looks like a good match.
- Physical sales are still a primary revenue source = Buy the CD from stores and online.
- Permanent download milestones are influencing perception and momentum = Download from iTunes or Amazon or other.
- Digital streaming platforms are positioned to provide measured popularity buoyancy to keep the music in the eyes (ears) of the public for a longer period of time = Stream those songs! Choose a subscription like TIDAL, Spotify, Beats and more.
As an opinionated writer, this author believes (lyrically speaking) Glamberts are more than ready to “listen to music again.” Coming soon will be the music video(s), live promos, performances, radio play, guest appearances, interviews, and a heap more excitement generated by Adam Lambert as “The Original High” is rolled out this summer. The fun is just beginning and despite my “Ghost Town” fever; Adam’s “Cuckoo” lyrics are on my brain:
“I’m swinging off of my hinges….. the crazy train is ready to roll.”
May all your Berting be inspired!
Witten 4-18-2015 by @noskerdycat
Data sources are linked within the text.