I don't want Hayley to dump Decca. They are a good label that cares about the integrity of their artists as well as money. What has happened with Hayley is probably down to the error of one or two people - not the whole label. I mean, where will you have Hayley go? Sony?!
I guess you're right -- I've noticed that Rhydian's latest promotion by Sony has been a very confused event, with them trying to promote a Classical Crossover singer like a pop star. But that might have something to do with X Factor as well.
Hayley is no. 95 in this week's main UK album chart and I estimate the weekly sales to be about 5,000 copies.
Last year for River of Dreams (in week 2, I don't have the week 1 figures), over 51% of the sales were from supermarkets, only 34% from specialist retailers (like HMV) and it (only a 'best of') sold 12,000 copies in release week. I think it is reasonable to assume that Winter Magic would have sold around 15,000 copies had it been in the supermarkets and had TV advertising, which would have put it just outside the top 40 this week, enough to keep it in all the bigger supermarkets until Christmas.
Faryl (who I have been using as a useful comparison) has sold about 10,000 copies at no. 56; this is disappointing for her, I think. Even in her case I think it is doubtful if the "late release" gamble will pay off due to increasing Christmas sales; just after Festival of Remembrance is when I would have done it, in both Hayley and Faryl's case. In Faryl's case I'm being wise after the event but not in Hayley's case; I've said it about WM from the start.
Hi Dave Disappointing but not unexpected results. There's nothing that can be done now at this late stage other than to hope that the lessons are learnt by Decca but I suspect that as long as their costs are covered then they might not be too bothered.
From Hayley's personal perspective, this album should be seen as a success and if the Winter Magic tour is anything to go by then her popularity and fan base have surely increased.
As an aside, I would just like to mention what a lady said to her companion who were both seated behind me at the recording of "Friday Night is Music Night" last Friday. I quote:
"The trouble is there are just too many female singers at the moment all sounding the same. There's that Hayley Westenra, Faryl Smith, Katherine Jenkins and now there's that Camilla Kerslake".
I do not agree with her but it is worrying if that is the general view out there.
I think it is reasonable to assume that Winter Magic would have sold around 15,000 copies had it been in the supermarkets and had TV advertising, which would have put it just outside the top 40 this week, enough to keep it in all the bigger supermarkets until Christmas.
Hi Dave I know you are referring to the high street supermarkets but it is worth noting that the album is available on the Tesco and Asda online shopping sites.
Yes indeed Martin, supermarkets not any online sales of their mail order arms, which I'd lump all together whoever they are from. They are still a fairly small proportion of total CD sales and wouldn't affect the issue much, though now they will form a much bigger proportion of Hayley's sales than before. Digital album downloads have even less impact for singers like Hayley, in case anyone thinks of that. It's a pity I'm not getting any detailed sales breakdowns this year, it would have been interesting to see how it had changed.
Interestingly, Hayley's ranking at Amazon didn't increase by much as the week progressed and is still roughly where it was before the album was released (it's been consistently between 102 and 140). That tends to confirm my suspicion that people who would have bought it casually when they saw it in supermarkets aren't then going out fo their way to get it from elsewhere - their sales are probably lost for ever. They are mostly buying other CDs instead, I suspect.
Is there any way to find out how Hayley's album is doing in the U.S.?
I did see on Amazon (US) that her top Mp3 download right now is Veni Veni Emmanuel; I think Coventry Carol was 3rd, after Dark Waltz. DW seems to be one of her most popular songs! Going down the list, WM songs were every other song. It really annoys me how they call Celtic Treasure "Celtic Treasures". It's not that bad, I guess, as long as people buy it, but they should still try to get it right.
There is quite a stark difference between Hayley's and Katherine's voices. I do think Faryl's voice is similar to Katherine's. Camilla's is softer and less operatic like Hayley's, but it's still quite different. I like soft, pretty voices like hers and Hayley's. The sounds of their voices aren't really the same, but their song choices are similar. I like Camilla's "In the Bleak Midwinter", but the rest is similar to Hayley, like Abide with Me and She Moves through the Fair. Katherine's type of voice isn't my favorite. It's nice, but not enough for me to buy her albums. Perhaps that's what people mean when they say they sound the same, because as far as repertoire goes, they are very similar. And now I've gone way off-topic, but I didn't start it.
According to ukmix.org for the week ending 12 December, Winter Magic was sitting at number 95 on the UK charts.They get their info there from www.ukchartsplus.co.uk/
Thanks for that, to avoid any confusion though I should add that this is the same week's chart as the one I mentioned on Monday, ChartsPlus are a bit slow in coming out and they have an odd dating convention - the chart is actually based on last week's sales (chart compiled last Sunday) not this week's!
Congratulations on your 1,000+ posts already, thanks for all you've done and are doing!
I think we may be worrying unduly about Winter Magic's chart success. Hayley has said that this was an album she really wanted to record, so she may not be too concerned about its performance in the charts. Her new album next year will be the one that really matters.
I've been thinking the same since we heard that there is to be a 'new' album early next year. I had assumed that "Winter Magic" would be one of her contracted albums but now I'm not so sure.
In fact, I'm beginning to think that we may be being unfairly critical of Decca. As you say Richard, this is an album that Hayley has wanted to do and has been preparing songs for, for a long time.WHAT IF, rather than failing to market the album, the whole intention was to grant Hayley her wish to do the album on the basis of a low key release ahead of her next international album?
That way, Hayley gets her Christmas album, but Decca don't risk loosing money on a massive promotion exercise which may or may not pay off.
Yes, anything's possible and we are unlikely ever to know the full story.
However... the short-notice track-listing change (which was never going to add significantly to the sales), release-date change, failure to capitalise on three high profile TV appearances by co-ordinating the release date, and first ever omission (for Hayley) from the UK supermarkets (in spite of better pre-release sales than Faryl) when added together indicate that someione somewhere messed up. Losing Hayley substantial sales (well over half IMO) and, I presume, lowering their own profit in the process.
However... (1) Hayley said to me a few years ago that she has very little interest in how her albums are doing in the charts and I think this is probably still the case. She may well get nothing out of them other than the artistic satisfaction of making them and pleasing her fans and listeners. I think it probably all goes to Decca into that big black hole from 2003/4.
However... (2) The very obvious cutting back on the UK promotional budget for Winter Magic (once they realised it wouldn't be taken by supermarkets) should now be available to promote Hayley's next album so we have that to look forward to. But the chance of co-ordinating its release with such a high profile series of TV and other media events has probably gone; an opportunity missed - and clearly so.
I don't think we should place too much importance on the number of "International Releases" though, as we have no idea what came out of the 2005 contract renegotiation and it may no longer be relevant.
On balance, I think the evidence still points to a record company (or somebody's) mess-up over Winter Magic in the UK, with the only glimmer of light being the extra promo budget (hopefully) for the next album. If substantial evidence emerges to the contrary, I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. But yes, what's done is done and anyway, we now have a new album to look forward to; I'm sure Decca will do a better job with that one!
There's one other factor that is probably hurting sales of Winter Magic and possibly hurting Faryl a bit, too: traditionally, Britain avoids Christmas albums like the plague. While Faryl's Wonderland is not a Christmas album, it kinda looks like it might be, which might be slowing sales a bit for her.
Heyley's Winter Magic not only looks like a Christmas album but it blatantly IS a Christmas album. There's probably no better way to sink without trace in the UK charts than to release one of those.
Decca certainly haven't helped, mind. A lot of very bad decisions have hurt whatever the sales may have been if they had managed the release schedule better.
Considering the natural British resistance to Christmas albums and the mess made by Decca, Winter Magic is probably not performing THAT badly...