The music industry has changed drastically in the last decade. Tried and tested formulas for creating hit albums are just not relevant anymore. These days, social media, music blogs and digital distribution are all key factors in determining the success of an artist. Even with all these changes, there are some artists like Taylor Swift and Beyonce who continue to be untouchable in their reign over the charts. In this article though, we look on the other end of the spectrum to discuss some of the biggest music flops this year. No one ever really wants to be on this list, but it’s strictly the numbers that do all the talking here.
Robin Thicke: Paula
2014 has been one of the more difficult years for R&B crooner Robin Thicke. He was going through the public break-up with his estranged wife Paula Patton, and he was also going through some nagging legal issues with regards to allegations of sonic plagiarism on his hit song “Blurred Lines.” In the midst of all this drama, he attempted to put out a new album called Paula to woo his wife back. It sounds like a good idea, but it failed miserably. When it dropped, it sold a meagre 24,000 units in the United States and in the UK, it sold a measly 530 copies. From there, it only got worse. Let this be a lesson to all singers – don’t try to win your spouse back by putting out an album named after him/her. This strategy generally doesn’t work.
Jennifer Lopez: A.K.A.
There’s no doubt about it – Jennifer Lopez is a superstar in the realms of music, entertainment and fashion. And even at the age of 45, she’s looking hotter than ever before. But even with all this stuff going in her favor, her new album A.K.A. flopped big time when it dropped earlier this year. None of the singles she dropped really worked. The lead single for the album was “I Luh Ya Papi” featuring French Montana, and even with its hot and sexy video, it wasn’t even a top ten hit. In the first week, her album moved 33,000 units and it debuted at #8 on the charts. I am sure we can all agree that for a superstar of her level, that’s just not good enough.
Mariah Carey: The Elusive Chanteuse
Mariah hasn’t had the best year either; there was the marriage breakup with Nick Cannon, and in addition to that, her new album The Elusive Chanteuse ended up debuting with numbers nowhere near her prior achievements. She ended up selling 58,000 records in her first week, and it was good for a #3 opening. But since then, the numbers have continued to decline. There was a lot of finger-pointing after this drastic disaster and she ended up parting with her longtime manager Jermaine Dupri over the issue. Perhaps the guard has changed and the Mariah era might be possibly gone forever.
Austin Mahone: The Secret
The 18-yr-old pop star Austin Mahone was once considered to be the next artist to take Bieber’s place in the realm of heartthrob male pop stars. He has all the ingredients: the good looks, the singing talent and a huge fan base of young teenage girls who spend all their free time at the mall. But when his debut EP titled The Secret dropped this summer, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations. It sold just 46,000 copies, and a lot of executives at his record company who have a lot invested in his success were very disappointed. It’s a tough break but he’s still very young, so he’ll probably be able to make it right for his follow-up release.
The rapper Stalley hails from Ohio, and he’s one of the rappers signed to Rick Ross’s MMG label. Even on the label, he’s one of the rappers who plays the background. The release of his album this year was going to be his strategy for really getting into the limelight. He was also banking on all the publicity from Lebron James coming back to Cleveland to add extra buzz for his album. He named the album Ohio but even that hometown love didn’t help his album sales. In the opening week, he even struggled to move 8,000 units. Even though the music industry has changed, that’s still considered a flop. Perhaps his sophomore album will do better.
50. Cent – Animal Ambition
2014 was supposed to be the official year when 50 Cent stepped back into the rap game to take over again with his big comeback album. We all know how he conquered everything when he first entered in the early 2000’s with his debut album Get Rich or Die Trying. With his new album, Animal Ambition, he was claiming that he had his hunger back and was ready to rule Hip-Hop once more. But even with a slew of solid tracks and a boatload of videos to accompany his album, it really didn’t do much damage when it dropped. He did debut in the top 5, but it must have been a slow week because the album only sold 47,000 units. It’s a far cry from his debut album that sold almost 900,000 copies in its opening week.
Foster The People
This is one album that we actually feel bad about, because this band is pretty darn good. Foster The People is an indie Los Angeles band, and this year they released their second album titled Supermodel. The lead single might actually be one of the best indie rock songs released this year. It was called “Coming of Age” and it had a breezy, retro summer feel to it. With that song helming the album, they sold 54K units the first week, but the album was only able to spend two weeks in the top 40. They will probably make decent money on tour because they also happen to be a very good live band.
Tessanne Chin: Count On My Love
Jamaican native Tessanne Chin won Season 5 of popular network singing show The Voice. On her way to the win, she wowed the judges with her powerful performances of power ballads, and reggae-rock jams. But even all that exposure didn’t make a difference when she released her album this year. For the first week, the album sold just 7,000 units and debuted at #41 on the charts. The week afterwards, it got even worse and the album tumbled to 197. It marked the worst showing for a Voice winner since the show has been on the air. Ouch that hurts!
Marsha Ambrosius: Friends And Lovers
British R&B star Marsha Ambrosius was at one point considered to be one of top R&B talents on the scene. There was even a period in her career when she was a major part of Dr. Dre’s Aftermath music label. Well earlier this year, she dropped her sophomore album called Friends and Lovers, and it wasn’t quite the success that everyone expected. It debuted at #12 on the charts with a paltry amount of 17,000 units sold. The next week it tumbled even further to #45 on the charts. Perhaps the album performed better in her native England. If not, she has some heavy retooling to do in her career going forward.
Common: Nobody’s Smiling
Common is one of the most respected rappers in Hip-Hop. In recent years, he has also been making himself very relevant in the acting world as well. This summer he released a new album called Nobody’s Smiling that largely went under the radar. The LP was his way of adding a voice for positivity to all the gang violence going on in Chicago these days. The album also featured several names from the newer school of Hip-Hop including Vince Staples and Big Sean. The album didn’t fare too well on the charts. The opening sales were just under 25K, and for an artist like Common, one would expect him to do much better.