Chris Brown leaving "Good Morning America" on Tuesday (photo: INFphoto.com)
After Chris Brown allegedly threw a chair and verbally abused staff backstage at "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, some wondered if the outburst would lead to a decrease in sales of his new album or his single dropping on the charts.
His February 2009 assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna seemed to have a negative impact on his chart performance, at least initially: Prior to the incident, Brown had notched 11 top 10 singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Afterwards, Brown missed the top 10 of the tally with the three charting singles from his late 2009 "Graffiti" album. However, he came back strong with the mixtape track "Deuces" in the summer of 2010: It hit No. 1 on Sept. 11 of that year and spent nine straight weeks atop the list -- marking his biggest single yet. He subsequently followed it up with three more top 10 hits -- including his new chart-topper, "Look At Me Now" (featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes) which rises 2-1 this week.
"Look at Me Now" shows no signs of stopping, if some of the urban program directors Billboard spoke with are right. Every one said that Brown's most recent outburst would not stop them from playing his songs, and it would have no negative impact on his listenership -- in fact, John Candelaria of KBFB Dallas-Ft. Worth said it might stir up interest because many will want to learn how the incident plays out.
In regards to Brown's album sales, two of the PD's felt that it would have no impact, while Derrick "DC" Corbett, director of urban programming for Clear Channel/New Orleans wasn't so sure. "I don't think it will affect urban fans of his that want to buy it," he said. "I think, just like with the Rihanna situation, if there is a backlash it will be felt primarily from the pop audience buyers."
So far, it looks like Brown is off to a strong start. At this time next week, Chris Brown may be celebrating his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his fourth set, "F.A.M.E.," is on course to bow with over 250,000 sold in its first week.
Industry prognosticators suggest the set, released Tuesday, could shift anywhere between 250,000 to 300,000 by the week's end on Sunday, March 27. Brown has charted three previous top 10 albums: His self-titled debut bowed and peaked at No. 2 in 2005 and was followed by 2007's "Exclusive" (No. 4) and 2009's "Graffiti" (No. 7).
"Graffiti" began with 102,000 first-week sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, in the thick of the Christmas shopping season and has thus far sold 341,000. His new set boasts four Billboard Hot 100 hit singles "Deuces" (No. 14), "Yeah 3X" (No. 15), "No BS" (No. 62) and "Look At Me Now" (No. 8).
Ed James, President of Cornerstone Public Relations, said that he'd advise Brown's team to pull back on sit-down interviews and shift the focus back to the music. But that doesn't mean Brown should be cut off from all forms of communication.
"I wouldn't tell him to stay away from Twitter," says James. "He is still responsible to his fans, and something like that has to be real."
Independent publicist Roberta Magrini agrees with James that Brown should cut back on doing press, but says he should step away from Twitter as well. "Twitter was not made for every artist," she says. "For some, it can do more harm than good."
On the Billboard Hot 100 to be released tomorrow (March 24), "Look" leaps 12-8 to become Brown's first top 10 on the chart since "Forever," which peaked at No. 2 in August 2008. "Look" is Brown's 10th Hot 100 top 10. He logged the prior nine between 2005 and 2008.
Calls to Brown's representatives for comment had not been returned at press time.