Can Rock N Roll Save The Music Business?

Record sales are at an all time low. Labels are firing everyone. Retail stores are closing down or cutting back on shelfspace for music. So the question is, can ROCK save the biz? Here are some of the bigger albums that have come out or will be out soon: Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Nickelback, The Killers, and Fall Out Boy. Rolling Stone spoke to a bunch of retailers and record people and they all seem to think that these releases will sell strong during the holidays.

“We’re going to have a solid release schedule,” says Ed Hogan, director of music for Best Buy, which is putting out G n’ R’s long-awaited Chinese Democracy. “I doubt whether it can turn around the overall industry decline and help make up for the fact that the economic time is difficult.”

Expected hits by U2, Dr. Dre and Jay-Z have been bumped to next year. But among the confirmed superstar records due are Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, on November 25th; 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct, in mid-December; Britney Spears’ Circus, December 2nd; Beyoncé’s I Am . . . Sasha Fierce, later this month; and new albums by Akon, American Idol winner David Cook and possibly, by year’s end, Eminem.

on the new GNR album
After 14 years of delays, Chinese Democracy is finally coming out on November 23rd. But with Axl Rose unlikely to do many promotional appearances, the album will have to rely on radio play and Best Buy’s marketing machine, which ran a clever ad during Saturday Night Live. The first single, “Chinese Democracy,” hit Number Nine on hard-rock radio in its first two weeks. “I really think [fans] are going to go out and buy this thing the minute it hits,” says Doug Podell, program director for Detroit rock station WRIF. “I sense it’s pent-up. The timing is really right.”

Podell even thinks that Nickelback’s “Dark Horse” will sell well because of their previous albums selling so well for an extended period of time.
“Those aren’t necessarily a one-week thing.”

One record exec who’s still optimistic (fool?)
“Seeing how AC/DC and some other groups of that ilk have done makes me a little more positive,” says Ron Burman, senior vice president of A&R for Nickelback’s label, Roadrunner. “I would like to think rock isn’t necessarily affected by the economy. People want to rock.”

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