With two weeks left until Alfie Boe’s new album, Serenata, is released, I thought it would be a good time to look at how record labels choose when to release an album. This is particularly pertinent for Alfie Boe fans as we all got very excited when Amazon and iTunes listed Serenata as being released a week earlier than the original date, 17th November. Unfortunately, that was a false start as a few weeks later, the album was back to it’s original release date. Officially, there is no reason for this; it’s just the way things turned out.
Of course, when I started looking into the subject, it turned out to be a lot more complicated than you might think – as does pretty much everything! Record labels exist to sell records, pure and simple and so attaining a good chart position and decent sales are the be all and end all of making an album. Excellent quality records are great but if they don’t sell enough to pay the bills they aren’t going to keep the artist on the Christmas card list.
Looking at Alfie’s previous albums with Decca, this will be the fourth to be released in the run up to Christmas (Bring Him Home was released just after Christmas) and they have all sold well in that time frame, so a good decision to go for that again. All have achieved top ten status in the official album charts in the first week and have continued to sell well. Amazon currently lists all Alfie’s Decca albums in their top 100 album bestsellers.
Social media and fan forums have seen a fair amount of concern that Serenata is due to be released on the same day as albums by Katherine Jenkins and Michael Ball. Although most of Katherine’s previous albums have hit number 1 on the classical charts, they have not had the same degree of success on the official “normal” charts, although they have usually achieved top ten status. Michael’s first album hit number 1 on the official chart and since then, he has consistently achieved the top twenty. At first glance they might be seen to be playing to the same audience but a look at the numbers doesn’t necessarily bear that out.
Alfie’s Decca albums, all released in similar time frames to Katherine and Michael, have all achieved top ten status and with his much anticipated and talked about return to a more classical style, there is no reason to think that this year’s sales should be any different. In fact, it could be said that releasing Serenata on the same day as Katherine’s Home Sweet Home will work to Alfie’s advantage as he is guesting on that album – let’s face it, once everyone listens to Barcelona on Home Sweet Home they will instantly want to hear more and buy Serenata as well!
On the same topic, in 2013 there were murmurs of disgruntlement from Alfie fans when Trust was released on the same day as Gary Barlow’s album. Trust still achieved the top ten in that first week so it didn’t seem to hurt and, much as it may hurt to admit, Gary Barlow has a much bigger fan base than Alfie and appeals to a much wider audience. In reality, releasing on the same day as a mega artist like Barlow really makes little or no difference to Alfie’s sales.
As fans, if we want to boost #AlfieBoeSerenata in the run up to the album release and the #AlfieBoeUKTour the way to do it is to shout about it as much as we can on our social media platform of choice – use the hashtags in everything you tweet about Alfie and retweet everything else you see. If possible, get Alfie to retweet as well (alright, I know I’m asking a lot here, but it’s not impossible!) and let’s get him trending.
Bombard your local radio stations, as well as ClassicFM, BBC Radio 2 and any other stations you can think of, to play Alfie – don’t forget the hashtag #AlfieBoeSerenata! A huge number of people listen to their local radio station each week which is why Alfie does a lot of promo appearances and linked interviews with them.
Hope you enjoyed finding out a bit about why record labels choose to release albums when they do – if you did, just let me know in the comments box and please share!
In anticipation, let’s take a look at Volare:
Serenata can be pre-ordered below:
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