You Oughta Bundle: Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged' Musical Is First to Package Cast Album With a Ticket

DO NOT REUSE - BB29 2019
Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images
From left: Morissette, director Diane Paulus and the cast on opening night.

Jagged Little Pill, the musical inspired by the 1995 Alanis Morissette album of the same name, opened on Broadway on Dec. 5. The album has sold 15.2 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Music. And now, the Broadway show is the first to bundle its cast recording album with tickets to its performances. Fans eager to see the classic LP come to life received a digital copy of the cast album, released the same day as the show's Broadway premiere.

With just over 425 seats at the Broadhurst Theatre eligible for the offer per show, the album bundles could bring in over $10,000 in sales through the end of the year and serve as a promotional tool for Pill's Broadway debut. (Albums sold through ticket bundles on Broadway do not qualify for Billboard's charts.) The promotion, available for select tickets to Pill's weekday performances purchased in December, was the result of a partnership between the show's producers and the cast recording's label, Atlantic Records.

"Instead of us just selling an album and them just selling a show, us selling an album should help them sell the show and [vice versa]," says Atlantic Records A&R director Michael Parker, who spearheaded the bundling idea and calls it a pipe dream come true.

"There are people who might not have bought the album right away who will, and people who wanted the record will have the added incentive to buy a ticket to the show," says Vivek Tiwary, one of the show's producers. "We'll see increased revenue on both sides."

Despite the fact that touring artists have been bundling albums with tickets for years, Tiwary says it took months to get the system implemented for Broadway. Unlike with Ticketmaster, which created functionality for concert ticket and album bundles over a decade ago, the technology had to be built and tested within one of Broadway's main ticketers, Telecharge.

"We didn't simply snap our fingers and it happened," says Tiwary, adding that attorneys also had to negotiate terms between the ticketer, the label and producers to make the bundling a reality. "I suspect other producers would have given up, would have said, 'This is taking a lot of time and effort and it's just not worth it.' But we put the time and effort into doing it."

As the label for Hamilton, which has sold over 6 million copies, Atlantic saw firsthand how a cast album can create worldwide demand for a show that has expanded internationally to England, Australia and Germany. According to Alecia Parker, executive producer of National Artists Management Company (Chicago, Waitress), labels are no longer waiting months after the show hits the stage to release cast albums and are instead leveraging them for marketing purposes.

"A cast album is such an important component of a show's brand these days, really as a promotional tool," says Parker. "It builds awareness for audiences for when you start touring."

Tiwary believes album bundles will become standard for Broadway shows going forward. "I would like to see a day where this is not a promotion, where this is just clockwork," he says. "Much like a Playbill, everyone who leaves the theater walks out with a cast album."

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 14 issue of Billboard.


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