Saturday, May 19, 2007

Numbers Fun with Fizzy, Fuzzy

In an effort to pump the Chicago Martyrs’ gig on Saturday, June 9th, for which tickets are now on sale at (800) 594-TIXX , I will dedicate as many blogs as possible between now and then to topics related to the Refreshments.

Remember my post from a couple of months ago where I estimated possible sales figures for the Refreshments’ first album, Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy? Well, it turns out we have some up-to-date numbers for you.

Enter John, a radio man who not so long ago was the mid-day music director of KMXP in Phoenix. He read my blog and, after abusing his Soundscan privileges, gave me the skinny on how many copies of Fizzy have sold. Here’s what he had to say.

I was reading your blog which discussed the number of copies of Fizzy that were sold. I logged onto Soundscan out of curiosity, and it shows 374,790 sold to date, with 982 being sold in 2007. (Of that 374,790 would you believe that 42,550 were cassettes?!?) The total number shipped could be higher, but only the label would know for sure. The top 10 markets in which FFB&B sold are (in order):

Phoenix (38,302)

Thank you, John.

Back when I used to be privy to these things, Soundscan was commonly thought of as representing at least 90 percent of all records sold in the U.S. (I bet it’s gone up since then.) In other words, we used to guess that up to ten percent of records sold weren’t “soundscanned.” They were sold at Mom & Pop record stores, which were record stores not owned by chains or corporations but by actual people. (I know, I know. It sounds crazy.)

So, if Fizzy soundscanned about 375,000 copies--and that’s not even all the copies that have sold--my estimate of 400,000 copies of Fizzy shipped (Remember, gold record status is measured by that vague, outdated number of records shipped) probably is a bit modest. Considering all of this, I’d guess we’re somewhere closer to 420k.

But again, only Mercury Records knows for sure how many copies of Fizzy have shipped.

However, my estimates for the current number of copies of Fizzy sold per week and per year were a bit off. My original source had it selling 100 records per week, which comes to about 5000 records per year. According to John, who compiled all of these numbers at the end of April, Fizzy has sold 982 copies in 2007, which comes to something more like 55-60 records a week and 3000 per year. (My original source may have been exaggerating, or the number could’ve gone down since then.)

At this rate, no gold record is eminent, but hey, who gets into this game for gold records, right?

Our top 10 Fizzy cities read like this in December of 1996:

10) Chicago
9) Sacramento
8) Detroit
7) Portland
6) Los Angeles
5) Atlanta
4) New York
3) Boston
2) Denver
1) Phoenix

Compare that to John’s current list, and there’s not much change. (Sacto fell of; Philly came on.)

Next week, More numbers fun with Bottle and “Banditos.”