Britney Spears has a new album? She still records? What? Why?
Maybe the answer is because she’s got a new perfume to market.
Actually, though her sales – like every other artist out there not called Adele – are not what they used to be, Spears’ relative significance in the charts is not too bad and she remains in the top 20 highest selling artists of all time in the USA.
For example, while her 2013 album, Britney Jean, sold a reasonably modest quarter of a million in the USA (compared with the 12 and 10 million respectively of her 1999 debut, Baby One More Time, and 2000’s Oops, I Did It Again), it reached number 4 in her home charts, number 7 in Canada and 12 in Australia, which has always been a solid market for her.
Her last big tour, in 2011, often appeared to have seats available, included discounting of tickets and was not exactly well reviewed, but nonetheless was the 11th highest grossing tour of the year internationally, attracting nearly 700,000 and grossing just under $69 million.
Elsewhere, while her affairs are still court-monitored due to questions over her capacity to manage her own affairs with ongoing mental health issues – making some wonder if her off-stage life is as “mimed” as her shows seem to be – there are still income earners with product placements, use of her material in commercials and games, including a role playing game Britney Spears: American Dream, and perfumes, of which she now has 20 when you include this year’s Private Show.
While purists may mock celebrity perfumes, the various Spears-fronted scents have generated more than $1.5 billion in sales. Which is nothing to be sniffed at.
It’s possible, probable even, that Spears’ her new album, Glory, will not do big numbers when it is released on August 26, and with her most recent single in Australia, Make Me, spending barely any time in the charts and just scraping into the top 40 no one is expecting a number one. However, “Britney Corp.” is diverse enough not to really need it to be a huge hit. You might even consider it a promotional exercise for the brand: not quite a gift with purchase but maybe a loss leader.
That doesn’t sound like pop, but it does sound like business.