Three of the six albums Google Music featured for sale for 25 cents last week experienced explosive sales jumps this week, with "Now 41" coming out the big winner.
The title may have moved up just one spot in the Billboard 200 to No. 3, but sales jumped to 152,000 units from 46,000 units the prior week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, with digital albums accounting for 124,000 units of last week's sales.
During the week ended March 4, Google Music featured that title and five others for 25 cents on its home page, a price matched by Amazon for each title, but not touted by the Seattle-based merchant. The Google price move was unpopular with label and retail executives, who told Billboard.biz they believe this type of pricing devalues music.
The pricing move by Google Music, which has had a slower-than-expected launch in reaching consumers, is seen as copying the low-pricing strategy employed by Amazon, which regularly features $2.99 daily deals and last year sold Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" album for 99 cents. Industry executives believe Amazon uses low price to raise consumer awareness. Consequently, the play by Google is seen in a similar light.
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Lady Antebellum and Coldplay also enjoyed big boosts by the Google Music's pricing. According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Own the Night," enjoyed a sales jump to 108,000 from 20,000 the prior week, with 93,000 of last week's sales coming in the digital format, while "Mylo Xyloto's" sales jumped to 99,000 from 18,000 with 93,000 coming from downloads.
Lady Antebellum's title jumped to No. 4 in The Billboard 200 from the prior week's rank of No. 16, while Coldplay comes in at No. 5, whereas in the previous week it was No. 29. The titles are eligible for the Billboard 200 because they were released more than four weeks ago, per a November, 2011, revision in Billboard's chart policy.
While SoundScan doesn't break out individual account sales, labels sources indicated that the 25 cents sales were split almost evenly between Google and Amazon, with iTunes getting a sliver of digital sales. In fact, while Amazon wasn't promoting its 25 cents albums the way Google was, it almost garnered a larger portion of the digital sales on the 25 cents featured titles, but for the "Now 41" title, where the search engine scored heavily with its promotion. Meanwhile, iTunes garnered almost 8% of the digita sales on the titles, Billbaord estimates.
The other three albums priced at 25 cents by Google and matched by Amazon, were Lil' Wayne's "Tha Carter IV," Drake's "Take Care, and the Rolling Stone's "Brussels Affair." The latter title hardly had any sales bump, but Drake's sales doubled to 58,000, with 43,000 coming from digital while Lil Wayne's sales almost tripled to 36,000 from 13,000 in the prior week, with 29,000 units coming from downloads. The Drake sales was good enough to move the album up one slot in The Billboard 200 to No. 7, while Lil Wayne's title jumped to No. 8 from No. 37.