In February, Flo Rida broke the record for the most digital song downloads in a week when "Right Round," the lead single from his second album, "R.O.O.T.S.," sold 636,000 copies in its first week, according to Niesen SoundScan. The record he broke was his own, for "Low," a single from his first album. That set, "Mail on a Sunday," sold 372,000 copies, according to SoundScan, respectable but not spectacular.
Now the Carol City, Fla.-born rapper wants to prove that he can sell albums the way he does singles by aggressively marketing "R.O.O.T.S.," which is slated for a March 31 release on Poe Boy/Atlantic Records.
At the very least "Right Round" will give Flo Rida a significant boost. "My A&R man Mike Caren brought the track to my attention, and the idea of stepping up the production on my sophomore album excited me," Flo Rida says. "So, we went in the studio, Dr. Luke did the sample [of "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"] and I recorded it. I didn't know it would be this big, but I was happy to be making the music." And that song is still selling.
"Part of the problem with people in the music business is that people don't have the patience to allow things to develop more," says Atlantic Records chairman/COO Julie Greenwald. "Obviously, we all want to sell more albums, but for a new artist to sell over 350,000 of an album is a great place to start. We just have to reshift and redefine our expectations of what success is considering the climate of the industry. This is the perfect setup for everybody to be super excited about this next album. Next time, we can aim for 600,000 and build our way up."
Sales of "Right Round" surpassed the download record for 2009 set a week before by the Eminem comeback track "Crack a Bottle," which sold 418,000 copies. It also smashed the mark set by Flo Rida himself in January 2008, when "Low" sold 467,000 downloads, the most first-week digital sales in SoundScan history then (and still the biggest digital song of all time with 4.8 million downloads to date). While Flo Rida says the success of "Right Round" surprised him, he always aimed high.
"I always sat on my computer and studied music and different artists like OutKast and Ludacris, Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac," Flo Rida says. "There just was no plan B for me. After basketball didn't work out, I knew this was what I was meant to do. At the same time, it's about soul—it's about what you feel when you record. I don't ever leave the studio without feeling chills—goose bumps."
Click here to read what it is about "R.O.O.T.S." that Flo Rida and his camp believe will entice consumers to buy the album.