Record Sales and Estimations FORUM: Archive - Beginning April 17, 2003: Record Sales and Estimations
Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 05:06 pm:

I have a question again for those of you who are in the music business. I would like to know if a record (and I know it depends how long it stays on the charts not necessarily the number it went to.) is on the lower rung or doesnt really chart how much it sells . I will give you an example.
Can any of you Bobby Eli, KevGo or Weldon or the Terrana Brothers or anyone in the music business guesstimate how much records like
Love Aint Love - Florence Ballard
didnt chart
Happy Man - Impact (Damon Harris on lead) I think it was top 20 soul and in the 70s or 80s on the pop chart.
Vaughn Mason - Bounce Roll Skate...remember this club hit. Im sure it sold a million by now.
Im not going to hold you to it but I just want to know how much some of these lower rung charting records sell. I KNOW they say that Love Aint Love and It Doesnt Matter How I Say It by Flo Ballard flopped but I see it all the time on EBAY and my brother bought it when it came out because he said he heard it here on the radio in Washington DC. I asked him how many copies did they have and he said he remembered seeing about 10 copies of it in the store and when he went back a month later they were still there and then a few months later they were in some bargain bin but he only remembers hearing the record on the radio four or five times and then nothing. Im sorry to ramble but the examples above are lower rung charts records. Im sure the people on this forum have heard Happy Man by Impact I remember hearing that on the radio constantly. SO does lower rung mean 20,000 copies or less?

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 05:45 pm:

Vaughan Mason's "Bounce Rock Skate Roll" was a Billboard Top Ten R&B single even though it may have only hit the lower rungs of the Billboard Hot 100. Sales numbers is anyone's guess. It may have sold about a half-million copies.

As for your question - the sales can vary and it depends on what chart you're referring to. For example, Mtume's hit classic "Juicy Fruit" was a #1 million-selling single on Billboard's R&B chart yet it peaked at #45 on the Hot 100 pop chart (allegedly many pop stations at that time felt the record was too risque for airplay - today the song is tame in comparison to current material, but I digress). If a pop single scrapes the bottom of the Hot 100, it could have sold a few thousand copies or just enough to chart. Same if an R&B single peaks at the bottom.

As for Florence Ballard's single, I defer to my Soulful Detroit colleagues for that answer. What I can say is that my boss paid fifteen bucks for the 45 of "Love Ain't Love" (as for myself, I'll pick up that Florence Ballard CD anthology which is only available as an import!).

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 05:57 pm:

I have both of Flos singles and a friend of mine has one with the picture sleeve!!!! Ill tell you one record that stayed on the charts for a loooong time that song called I Go Crazy by Paul Davis the same guy who did 65 Love Affair...ohhhh the memories.

Too bad we didnt have soundscan then. Its itching inside of me to know how much these lower rung chart singles sell and then I wish I was rich so I could buy everything off of EBAY...

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 06:03 pm:

Until Soundscan nobody but the record company's owner and the distributors had a clue as to what sold what.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 06:05 pm:

Steph.. I was the producer /writer on Happy Man as well as the entire Impact album and I was disheartened when Atlantic did not give it their best shot on promotion and if they did it would been gold at least.

Frankie Beverly and Maze had seven back to back gold albums that barely charted pop.

We should ahave just on chart that reflects all music and see what happens.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 06:07 pm:

So true about Soundscan. I remember when Billboard incorporated that system for their charts in 1991 - every major record label recoiled while the independents rejoiced!

Re: Florence Ballard - if you can get the picture sleeve from your friend please try to scan it - I'm sure we'd love to see this. It's a shame her singles weren't successful.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 09:14 pm:

Oh WOW!!! Eli
Happy Man is one of my favorite singles!!! I used to sing it and I bought it when it came out I have a friend named Dennis Cooper who is crazy about that record. I saw them do it on Soul Train and it got a lot of play here in Washington DC...I live in MD man you are right it should have gone gold.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 02:32 pm:

I used to have the pic sleeve of "Love Ain't
Love" by Florence Flo Ballard (as the label and
sleeve read). It wasn't really a picture of
her, but a drawing.

Top of pageBottom of page   By douglasm ( on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 04:54 pm:

OK, explain something to me.
How are "the charts" created? Back in the '60's, the Billboard charts were the bible, based on (I beleave) on wholesale numbers of LP's or singles shipped.
When I got back into radio in the mid '90's, Billboard seemed irellevant, being suplanted by, in our case, Radio and Records, which had its own charts that were based on something--I'm not to sure what--although I got the impression that "airplay" and "playlist rotation" had an effect on them (gawd, I hated promotion call day).
So, when one sees a chart, how is it put together?

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:11 pm:

In 1991 Billboard started using a system called Soundscan to help tabulate sales information for the charts. Radio airplay information is still used but wholesale information from labels & distributors aren't. Soundscan takes their information from retailers who service them with sales figures. While the independent labels cheered on this new approach, the major record labels weren't too thrilled with this concept because Billboard was now using a resource that gave accurate numbers - in other words the trade was making the charts honest to a degree.

Radio & Records Magazine based their information on airplay from radio stations that were divided up into three levels or "piers". Pier 1 were the major markets, Pier 2 had the medium-sized markets & Pier 3 had the small markets. This system helped create airplay charts that had a broad range of music represented. For example, Lionel Richie's "Stuck On You" was a Top 5 single on the Pop, R&B (or Urban Contemporary as they called R&B back in the 1980s)and number one on the Adult-Contemporary charts and the lower reaches of the Country chart (based on small & medium-sized Country stations playing the record).

This may a simplified way of explaining how records are charted. I hope this helps.

Kevin Goins - KevGo
(PS - I was a radio DJ/programmer & news producer in Rochester, Ithaca & Syracuse NY during the 1980s for WVOR-FM, WHAM-AM, WICB-FM, 106VIC-FM CABLE & WQNY-FM)

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