Monday, April 2, 2012

Is Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy Gold Yet?

Most importantly, Stuck Outside of Phoenix the Movie is still on track to start shooting on April 7th. That's this week! It's a Nico miracle we made it this far. I'll keep you posted here on developments as the shooting progresses.

Secondly, I get asked occasionally if/when the Refreshments' debut album Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy will go gold. For those unfamiliar with gold record status, it's when an album has shipped 500,000 copies from the record company to retailers (or at least that's what it used to be). No one know for sure except the record company (in our case, Mercury) how many units an album has shipped. That zero records "ship" in digital form makes everything even more confusing.

So, I have no real idea if we're at or close to gold, but that hasn't kept me from speculating in the past at this very blog. My go-to person on these subjects is John Principale, who works at CBS radio and is a fan of the band. It's been five years since we last explored the issue, so here's the latest on Fizzy, according to Soundscan, which supposedly tracks about 90 percent of all album sales. Take it away, John.

Fizzy has sold a total of 386,453 [Soundscan] units to date. Back in 2007 it was showing as 374,790, so you’re looking at 11,663 sold in the past 5 years alone. For those 5 years, it breaks down to approximately 2,300 copies per year and about 44 copies per week. That number actually holds pretty true. Check out the last month:

Week ending 2/26/12: 44
Week ending 3/4/12: 45
Week ending 3/11/12: 34
Week ending 3/18/12: 40

Of the total 386,543, I’m seeing 42,558 cassettes (8 more than last time!), 332,777 CDs, and 11,074 digital. Year to date sales for 2012 are 453, with 432 of those coming digitally. Top 10 markets for sales since 2/27/96 are as follows:

Phoenix: 40,168 (30 copies in the past 4 weeks)
Denver: 12,300 (6)
New York: 11,671 (1)
Boston: 10,798 (5)
Los Angeles: 10,797 (1)
Portland: 9,613 (3)
Atlanta: 9,485 (0)
Chicago: 8,720 (3)
Detroit: 8,196 (1)
Philadelphia: 8,078 (2)

Looking at your old blog [post], it seems the order remains unchanged except for Portland and Atlanta swapping places. There’s also a field in the report that’s simply labeled “Tracks,” which I’m thinking could be digital downloads of individual songs. They obviously need to keep separate track of this number to pay Apple, the labels, and maybe the artists. This box shows 374 for this week, 3,877 for 2012 year to date, and 123,624 release to date.

Thanks again, John.

Fascinating, eh? If Soundscan is listing 386,453 sales, and Soundscan is still considered 90 percent of the market, then that would put the total shipped of Fizzy at something like 430,000 albums, which is still 70k short of where we need to be to be certified gold. So, not yet.

And only Mercury knows for sure.

The good news is the album continues to sell, and at this point probably will continue to do so. Still, no one should be holding their breath waiting for it to go gold.

And if you're one of those eight folks in the last five years who bought Fizzy on cassette, shoot me an email explaining your rationale.

Yours in laying down the law,


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Kevin Guhl said...

I'm glad to hear that FFB&B is still in print - wasn't sure, because I almost never see it in CD stores. (In whatever CD stores are left, anyway; and you can probably forget finding it in a big box store.)

It is hilarious that 8 cassettes have sold in that time. Although I didn't buy one, my girlfriend does still have a tape player in her (not-that-old) car, so I could see a situation where we came across a cassette of FFB&B and bought it to play in the car for the heck of it. If I did see one in a store, I'm sure I'd buy it for the novelty and nostalgic charm of it.

I guess it's safe to say "The Bottle and Fresh Horses" has a long way to go for Gold status?

Can't wait for Stuck: The Movie!

Art Edwards said...

I admit I miss my car stereo cassette deck. I'm not sure why. Something about the way the cassette gets sucked in at the last minute.

Stuck the Movie is on its way!

Kevin said...

Oh yeah, it is gratifying how the cassette whooshes into the player! To me, there's also still something dark and mysterious about mixtapes that iTunes mixes and burned CDs just don't equal.

Art, maybe you've mentioned this in previous blogs that I need to catch up on, but what kind of changes (if any) needed to be made between the novel and final shooting script?

Art Edwards said...

Wow, Kevin. That's a great idea for blog post. I promise to touch on it before the movie comes out.