A Letter From The Academy
A Letter From The Academy

As the music industry convenes on Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, merchants across America are gearing up for the sales boost that the show always brings.

The only question is: Which winners and performers will see the biggest bump?

At Trans World Entertainment, music buyer Mark Hudson said he expects Adele to sweep the Grammys, which will translate into a sales boost that could be enhanced even further by her performance during the show - her first since she underwent vocal-cord surgery last fall, causing the cancelation of the remainder of her North American tour.

Adele's "21" album "has consistently been No. 1 recently, and I think the Grammys will put her album through the roof again," Hudson says. "The combination of the performance, comeback and the factor that there are still people who have heard about the record, but are not that familiar with it and will be exposed, will ignite sales again. We think it could triple."

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Last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, Adele scanned about 121,000, up from 116,000 the week before, and has sat atop the Billboard 200 for the past six weeks. As this week draws to a close, it remains unclear whether Adele will score her 20th (non-consecutive) week at the top of the chart, or whether it will be unseated by the new Van Halen album, "A Different Kind of Truth." As Friday was winding down, industry sales prognosticators had both albums coming in at about 200,000.

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An early-in-the-show and great performance by Adele could have 40,000 people going to the iTunes store Sunday night -- God forbid -- and downloading the album," says Hudson, who would rather that those people buy her album at his store.

See all of our 2012 Grammys coverage right here

Other sources say another thing that Adele may have going for it is the Van Halen album is performing better than anticipated at some big boxes, but with some outages at stores around the country, Which, if true, would hurt its final tally for the week. Universal Music Group Distribution executives denied outages, saying the Van Halen supply is plentiful at stores, and is meeting sales expectations

While Adele will have the biggest upside, music merchants say they don't expect a sales explosion because, after all, her three albums -- "19," "21" and "Live at Royal Albert Hall" -- sold 6.7 million units last year and another 650,000 so far this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Meanwhile, other acts cited by merchants as being the beneficiary of sales breakout, depending on how they perform or how many awards they win, are Jason Aldean, the Civil Wars, and Bruno Mars.

He says the artist that could gain a big break from the Grammys is the Civil Wars, whose album "Barton Hollow" has scanned about 285,000 units so far. "They will be in front of a lot of people who don't know them," says Hudson. "They could have a Mumford & Sons moment."

Going into last year's Grammys, Mumford & Sons had scanned about 815,00 copies of the "Sigh No More" album. Sales took off again after their appearance on the show, with scans now totaling 2.1 million units.

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Jason Aldean has been a consistent seller since the release of last year's "My Kinda Party," but a lot of country fans aren't familiar with him, Hudson says, even though he has four albums that have sold 6.2 million units, with his latest, "My Kinda Party," at 2.3 million units.

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He is performing with Kelly Clarkson, who would also get a nice pickup because she is also riding some nice press after her strong performance of the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

In California, Super D music buyer Craig Swedin says, "I think Jason Aldean and Bruno Mars could be the breakout acts, and obviously the Civil Wars, if they give a kick-ass performance." Of course, Super D has a vested interest in the Civil Wars as their physical distributor.

"They been selling well along," but this will get them in front of a bigger audience, Swedin notes.

Other names mentioned by the two buyers that might experience a pop include Taylor Swift, Foster the People, Glen Campbell, Blake Shelton, and Maroon 5.

No matter what happens, Hudson says he expects the show to boost sales for the industry. "We think it will be an exciting show," he says. "It's a nice mix of performers."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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