Pearl Jam's 'Ten' Reissue Off To Strong Sales Start
The sales of the collector's edition comes thanks to worldwide fan club pre-orders; Legacy Recordings/Sony Music VP of sales Scott Van Horn says the label predicts that during the first week of release it will sell 55,000 copies overall of the four versions of the reissue.
If Sony's predictions are correct, the album will easily lead Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. Even if predictions are off, the set is still expected to conquer the chart with ease. The reigning albums for the last two weeks have sold 11,000 and 12,000 copies, respectively; the fan club pre-orders alone would almost beat that.
The list price for the collector's edition is $199.98. The set contains two CDs, four LPs, a DVD of Pearl Jam's previously unreleased "MTV Unplugged" performance, a cassette of demos, replicas of mementos from the collections of singer Eddie Vedder and bassist Jeff Ament, a vellum envelope with more ephemera and a print commemorating a concert from the time. Besides the collector's edition, other versions of the "Ten" reissue include a $40.98 deluxe edition and the $19.98 legacy edition. Van Horn predicts the collector's edition will account for 10% of sales, the deluxe edition for 50% and the legacy edition for 40%. (He adds that the label is having a harder time quickly counting sales of the $24.98 vinyl editions.)
The breakdown of sales is a stark contrast to the percentages for U2's latest album, "No Line on the Horizon," which was also released at multiple price points. During the first week of sales, 92.4% of the copies sold were the standard physical CD and all digital formats, with a $35.98 Digipak accounting for 4.4% of the sales and the $95.98 boxed set accounting for 2% of sales (Over the Counter, Billboard, March 28).
Compare Pearl Jam's numbers to pre-order numbers from another recent reissue, the Beastie Boys' "Paul's Boutique": While sales numbers aren't available to Nielsen SoundScan, Topspin founder Ian Rogers, who helped release the album, told Billboard earlier this month that the highest and lowest price points were the biggest sellers.
Although the prices for the deluxe edition of "Ten" might seem high, they are in line with historical trends. During the first golden age of boxed sets in the late '80s, collections like Eric Clapton's "Crossroads" and Bob Dylan's "Biograph" cost around $60, which would equate to $103 today, adjusted for inflation. Neither of those sets contained books, tapes or other assorted memorabilia, making "Ten" look almost like a bargain.