Beyond the hype that is dancehall

dancehall_reggae.jpgIf the latest report from Soundscan is anything to be believed...and it is rated as the best ever electronic network than can estimate album sales...then no wonder these artistes are demanding astronomical performance fees.

With the poor sales reflected on their album performance on the international level, one wonders why some artistes put out so many albums per year. Maybe there lies the cause of the poor sales. What artistes need to do is give that last album time to permeate the market, 'let it soak' and give the people time to enjoy the product...and then let them look forward to the other one. What is happening now is that by the time the fans have that copy in their hands, then along comes another!

Of course some could argue that one reason for the poor sales would be the illegal downloading of songs, but what about the other strong performers...aren't their songs being downloaded too? It's time to face the cold hard facts, dancehall music has become nothing but a 'tracing' match at best and a show of 'bad manism'. For those who have a good product and are still facing poor sales, well, they could be casualties of 'war'. Just as good law abiding cops must come under the banner of being corrupt when Jamaican people are cursing the force, good products will sometimes get lost in the controversy that has now become dancehall.

As dancehall music sales continue to slide the red alert is out and steps must now be taken to rescue the music. This cause is not helped either by the gay rights group out there doing everything to sabotage it...but must we help them too? Start cleaning up the music. Go back to the days when dancehall was nice. Just because there is a message to spread doesn't mean you have to do so in poor taste. If you truly love these artistes as you claim, stop downloading and start buying!
Producers must ensure that they put out good quality music. No inferior production please! Invest in promotion. Going around pestering people to give you a write up instead of investing in good PR will not go a long way. Advertise – if someone see something often enough, be it on the internet, papers, a jingle...they will remember it and that could pay off in sales.

Take the music seriously...after all it is a business..a very lucrative one at that. Having said that, below are the results of album sales from Soundscan, collected from over 17,000 music stores in US.

Artiste - Album - Approx. # Units Sold - Estimated Sale Period

Stephen Marley - Mind Control - 120,000 - 52 weeks
Collie Buddz - Collie Buddz - 65,000 - 47 weeks
Matisyahu - No Place To Be - 58,000 - unknown
Various Artistes - Reggae Gold 2007 - 46,000 - 50 weeks
Ky-Mani Marley - Radio - 29,000 - 35 weeks
Shaggy - Intoxication - 20,000 - 30 weeks
Various Artistes - Strictly The Best 36 - 18,000 - 78 weeks
Mavado - Gangsta For Life - 16,000 - 52 weeks
Richie Spice - In The Streets To Africa - 13,000 - unknown
Jah Cure - True Reflection - 10,000 - 45 weeks
I-Wayne - Book Of Life - 9,000 - 30 weeks
Elephant Man - Lets Get Physical - 7,000 - 10 weeks

Remember, it is important to note that Soundscan offers, at best, a good guesstimate of sales in the U.S. It does not cover Europe, where dancehall and reggae in particular are extremely popular, or the rest of the World.