Update: An Exercise in Irrelevancy

1Thanks to one of my valued readers, the latest sales figures for recent memoirs by both Tommy Mottola and Clive Davis reveal how little it takes to become a New York Times bestselling author.

Tommy’s Hitmaker entered at Number 3 on the NY Times list last month with sales for the previous week totaling 11,285. The following week Hitmaker fell completely off the list. It sold only 655 copies. It gets worse from there. In four weeks on the market Tommy has racked up sales of 12,601 copies. Not impressive for a bestselling author.

Amazingly Clive’s book, The Soundtrack of My Life, entered the NY Times list at Number 2 (I’m sure he was pissed that it wasn’t Number 1) last week with first week sales totaling 11,348, just 63 more copies sold than Hitmaker. Of course we won’t know if Clive’s book will follow the arc of Hitmaker, but it would be a pretty good bet that it will.

As you remember, I recently wrote about how easy it is these days to become a New York Times bestselling author. A week later Jeffrey Tractenberg wrote a terrific piece addressing the phenomenon in the Wall St. Journal titled The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike: How Are Some Authors Landing On Best-Seller Lists? They’re Buying Their Way. The piece features a marketing firm named ResultSource that essentially allows an author or publisher to buy their book onto the bestseller list.

In Tommy and Clive’s case, what this tells us is that in a nation of 300 million people, only about 12,000 give a shit about these guys, and the only reason Mottola has that much interest is because he was married to Mariah Carey. So what we have here is an example of how easy it is to hit the New York Times Bestseller list, thus signaling its growing irrelevancy, the further irrelevancy of the dying music business and the total irrelevancy of Tommy and Clive in particular. As one real bestselling author told me, “It’s the perfect trifecta”.

I’ll keep you posted on Clive’s future sales. Yippee.

© 2013, Wayne Rosso. All rights reserved.

5 comments for “Update: An Exercise in Irrelevancy

  1. joseph nicoletti consulting-promotions
    March 13, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    The Entertainment Business is “NOT” dying,, this is so popular to say and try to get knee jerk reactions !..music,Performance,,Film,TV,Broadcast is doing better than ever,..Concert Tickets are selling more than Ever,…people want to see and Connect with “PEOPLE”….can’t you see this !,..PEOPLE “NEED” PEOPLE……not to be closed off in a Room listening to I-Tunes on Head phones,,,,Music,Art,Film all of it are HUMAN Expression & Passion it will never Stop (or die)..EVER !, the Dreams are Alive,with the Birth of every new Baby !,….Joseph Nicoletti Consulting-Promotions office 949-715-5382,…

  2. musicbiz@cox.net
    March 13, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    is it ALL just about how many Books that get sold? What the ‘Content’ of what the book has to Offer ?…what ever happened to giving the author or talent, the Chance to get out to the Market Place? every one is so quick to judge and just be Negative,, i see see all around in life now.,, too much financial stress,or/and Family problems. i’ve known of record companies ready to drop an artist only to find in a week or so they won a “Grammy” or the record just took off !, ..life and success takes time,..Give Life Time to Develop,….Joseph Nicoletti Consulting-Promotions 949-715-5382

  3. March 11, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Mariah Carey.

  4. David Basskin
    March 6, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    I should have been clearer: the tag line I was referring to was, “There’s also a negative side”. The second quote (“When the going gets weird … “) is one of HST’s most celebrated remarks. Sorry for any confusion.

  5. David Basskin
    March 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    You oughta know better about that HST quote on your page. He didn’t say it about the music business, he said it about television. No matter how accurate a description of the music business it seems, it isn’t accurate. And the tag line was never written by Hunter Thompson. Look it up – this is very well-documented. I’m a huge fan of HST, and you may be, too. You show no respect by misquoting him.

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