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White's new album, Boarding House Reach, has sold more than 120,000 copies, after being bundled with tickets for his upcoming tour
By Jon Chapple on 04 Apr 2018
Jack White’s third solo album, Boarding House Reach, has become the singer’s third US number one as a solo artist, driven by strong sales – and the chance to see his upcoming North American tour.
Bucking the growing trend for singles and album charts to be shaped by streaming numbers, Boarding House Reach sold a massive 121,000 copies (added to 4.2m streams) in the US, where the album was bundled with concert tickets.
As noted by ABC Radio, “[s]ales for Boarding House Reach are in part driven by the concert ticket and album bundle for White’s upcoming tour, kicking off 19 April in Detroit. Redeeming the album included in your ticket purchase counts as one sale.”
White’s success with bundling follows similar successful album campaigns by artists including Metallica – whose 2016 LP Hardwired… to Self Destruct, shot up from no42 to no2 in the space of a week, coinciding with a on-sale for dates in North America – and Bon Jovi, whose 2016 album This House is Not for Sale, again bundled with tickets, opened at no1 and then fell to no43 in its second week.
“This is the way that people are getting albums in their hands”
Not everyone is a fan of the practice: while record labels make money for every bundle sold – whether or not buyers redeem the code for the album – promoter Seth Hurwitz believes bundling is a “flat-out scam”.
Hurwitz told Billboard last October that bundling forces people to buy music so acts “can jack up first-week album sales,” but in doing so “people are putting tours on sale way before they ought to.”
David Bakula, a senior analyst at Nielsen, disagrees, saying even if the buyer decides not to redeem the album, the ticket will still cost the same amount.
“This is the way that people are getting albums in their hands,” says Bakula. “If I’m going to a Bon Jovi show, I may or may not go out and buy a copy. But if you offer one to me wrapped in the price of my ticket, then yes – absolutely, I want it.”
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