Estelle’s ‘American Boy’ Removed from iTunes by Warner To Trigger Sales, Hurts Them Instead

estellesept3.jpgRegardless of the argument that artistry should trump sales when it comes to music, money still matters to major record labels and thus matters to the artists they sign. So it comes as no shock that a record label would be interested in removing the option to purchase singles on iTunes in an attempt to force listeners to buy the whole album instead. What makes little sense, however, is the decision to chose Estelle as a test subject.

Warner removed "American Boy" from iTunes and was greeted not only with a decline in sales of the single coupled with a dramatic drop off from #11 to #37 on the Billboard Charts, but also a drop in sales of her album, Shine, as well. It dropped to #159 after peaking at #38. Apparently this decision was prompted after label-mate Kid Rock made clear he did not want digital copies of his recent album or single made available online, and still sold albums. To Warner, Estelle must have seemed like a safe choice to test this out: a UK import on her first US release having moderate success is more expendable than, say, another Warner-signed artist like T.I. A decision like this proves the willingness of major labels to sacrifice smaller, less promoted artists whose sales might already be low during their battle with the internet for album sales. Why risk guaranteed sales of, I don't know, Madonna when you can play around with upstarts who need the momentum that availability on iTunes can provide? Good looking out, Warner. [BBC/ADZ]

Estelle [Official][MySpace]
"American Boy" [Amazon]
Shine [Amazon]

[Image: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Europe]


6 Responses

  1. Warners is the absolute worst label out there rigjht now. They need to just shut down and go away seriously. They way they market & promote artists now is just sad and people wonder why Madonna jumped ship after all these years.

  2. That makes no sense at all. What a dumb move. You have to wonder what these so-called Execs are thinking.

  3. This just seems a bit daft, why would they want to do that? Yeah, fair enough they want to increase album sales, doesn't everybody. But a lot of people out there buy tracks as singles to see what the album is like, etc.
    What do these record label people think will be gained from this? More to the point, what are they thinking? Some of the people in these so called record labels have no idea.

  4. In this day and age where iTunes downloads directly affect the Billboard Hot 100, this is not a good look. Shine is one of my absolute favorite albums of the year... shame.

  5. I have a feeling they KNOW exactly what they was doing.And it happen to be Estelle.Why am I surprised they one the one that told her to upgrade her image.I think Estelle should go indy after this album.

  6. I'm not sure if this was a good move or not, but I think it is way too early to tell. There was definitely going to be an immediate drop off on the charts when she stopped selling the digital single and album. I think the problem is that they went to such great lengths to announce it without the rest of the plan so fans are wondering why an artist their invested in is seemingly getting the shaft. It took Kid Rock's album months and a few singles to see the benefits of this kind of plan. I think its still a wait and see for at least another couple of months. People may eat their words...
    But if you ask me... taking the digital album down was a bad plan. I can see respecting her work enough to force buying the album, but no digital at all just seems like your telling consumers they are wrong about how they like to buy music.