J. Cole's first week numbers are important but not for the reason you may think, when your numbers were low you're a failure, if your numbers are high you're a winner. That's no longer how things work. Many artist now release albums and have terrible album sales but yet they sell a million copies of their single, so how are they losing?
The campaign for Cole World's new project 2014 Forest Hills Drive wasn't the usual polish that record labels put behind their promotional efforts, instead it was few homemade visuals, Instagram previews and J. Cole personally visiting one of his top fans to play the project in her home.
Those actions spoke to the audience as a whole and it personalized J. Cole and made him more relatable, shoot dude didn't even bother getting a haircut for this promo run.
So what's the result of J. Cole taking this approach?
His third number one album with 375,000 copies being sold in the first week, subsequently that sum also made his project the fifth-largest sales week for an album in 2014, and the biggest for a Hip Hop set in over a year.
Not to mention it sold 100 thousand more copies than it's 2013 predecessor Born Sinner which had a huge marketing budget behind it.
Why are artists signing to labels again?
The reason why his first week sales are really important – Out of everything that happened the thing that is most apparent about the success of this album is that a record label is really not relevant anymore, at least not in it's current form. This was all J. Cole, no big radio push, no hit record and absolutely no features.
He carried an entire project all by himself, he's definitively not letting Nas down. This is a game changer that I hope artists start paying attention to.
What J. Cole had to say about the numbers
I dont believe in their projections. And I dont believe in their reviews. Good or bad. I believe in God, in myself, in the music and in you.
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) December 10, 2014
The real is back
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) December 16, 2014
The #'s are humbling. It's a win for all artists and fans and a clear message to the industry. No singles no features. Stop serving trash
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) December 17, 2014