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"Someone wasn't worthy."
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December 05 2004

How many copies did the Once More With Feeling CD sell? In an article about the company that put out the musical CD, the figure is revealed. There is also an interview with Alison Krauss, who has contributed two songs to the Buffyverse, and whose music can be found on both of the other soundtracks.

That sounds a pretty good figure, for a group of unprofessional singers from an episode of television. But what an episode of television it was!

I don't know. Only 150,000? It seems a little low, somehow. I guess not as many Buffy fans loved the music from that episode as I imagined. Then again, it makes sense. There's 291 million people in the U.S. and out of that number, around 6-7 million (estimating here) watched BtVS at its peak. Quite a difference. Extrapolating, as viewers of BtVS overall are to the general population, so buyers of the OMWF soundtrack are to the general Buffy population. Or something. It's the best I can come up with at this hour without actually doing any math. ;)

Maybe a lot of Buffy fans who aren't as active on the net as we more obsessed focused types don't know there is a OMWF soundtrack because it came out on such a small label?
That's... sort of diappointing. I suppose this may be considered a successful amount of sales for a CD - I honestly wouldn't know. I guess I always imagined that the millions of people who watched the show were just as obsessed as me. How could you watch the show week, after week, and not be? :)
150,000 is not a figure to be proud of, quite frankly.

This is probably an unfair comparison, but this past week, U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sold 840,000 albums, Gwen Stefani's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. sold 309,000 albums, and Creed's Greatest Hits sold 158,000 albums even though the band broke up earlier this year! BTW, these were all debuting albums this week.

I'd be curious as to how many of the "OMWF" albums were sold in its debut week.

[ edited by Oddjob on 2004-12-05 12:32 ]
There's not a lot of information about the figures here. I mean, I bought 2 copies in New Zealand when it got here (ie, substantially after it was actually released) - do they count? Will we ever know? Only Joss' royalty statement can tell us for sure, and I have it on good authority that's buried somewhere with a big sign saying 'beware of the leopard'. Am I right?
I read an comment by James Marsters years ago (I think it was in an article about modern dance) where he said that something like half the audience who tuned into OMWF when it aired switched to another channel by the end.
How depressing!
HALF the audience? Even my sister, (formerly) the most anti-"Buffy" person ever, enjoyed OMWF. I wonder if something big was going on in tv-land this night. Football? "American Idol" (we are talking US ratings, aren't we)? Maybe those that changed the channel were taping it? Alright, enough speculation from me.

[ edited by obsessed on 2004-12-05 13:02 ]
Remember if you have the dvd of the series you dont need the album, plus at least here in the UK i never once saw an advert for it, how long was the gap between the episode and album comming out? As the songs were all available to download off certain sites straight after the show aired hence most people would have all the songs in one form or another long before the album came out.
For the amount of money U2 or Gwen Stefani has invested in their new records, their sales are proportionate. OMWF feeling has sold exceptionally well for the status and budget of its label.
faneater said "Remember if you have the dvd of the series you dont need the album"

I'd have to disagree there, the album is still a worthwhile purchase if you own the DVD, all the songs run their full length, the sound quality's great, and there's some good bonus tracks too. I've listened to the CD many, many more times than I've watched the episode.

Don't think I ever saw it advertised in the UK, I'd imported it and was hugely surprised when I saw that it got a UK release. Since bought a few more copies as gifts.

I don't think the sales figures are that bad, it was a small label, and non-Buffyfans were never going to buy it.

Surprised at the comment about people changing channel halfway through the episode, the ammount UPN repeated it over the following weeks made me think it had been a huge hit.
OK, I'm one of the ones who didn't buy the CD cos i have the DVD so i will put it in my shopping basket next time i'm ordering something on Amazon,no pressure intended here Ghost Spike.
So that will be 150,001 copies sold,as it didn't say when that figure was reached it could be a lot moreby now.
It is a wonderful thought that OMWF could sell more than Gwen Stefani or U2 but a little unfair given the exposure they get.To find Jossy related goodies in my local record store often takes a lot of time and smiles to a friendly looking member of staff.
Ghost Spike: I'd have to disagree there, the album is still a worthwhile purchase if you own the DVD, all the songs run their full length, the sound quality's great, and there's some good bonus tracks too. I've listened to the CD many, many more times than I've watched the episode.

I agree with Ghost Spike. I also have the DVD and the CD. I listen to the CD in the car a lot,actually. Getting to hear all the songs in their entirety and the bonus tracks -- including one of the demo tracks recorded by Joss and his wife Kai -- make the CD more than worth it.
I listen in my car as well. My favorites are the songs Amber Benson sings, her voice is just wonderful. So I have both dvd and soundtrack; however I bought the soundtrack before the dvd, as it was available long before the dvd was (in the US).
150,000 copies is nothing to sneeze at in the least. There is no comparison to actual musical groups who make music for a living, OMWF is from one episode of television.

What does make me sad is seeing yet another "anti-business" company get a corporate infusion. At least Rounder is still focusing on the quality artists who would fall through the cracks at the major labels.
Chirp pretty much summed up what i meant under the main headline. Thanks!
Didn't the article say that big record companies need to sell 200,000 before it is considered a success? So, I think 150,000 is good for a small company. And although it wasn't totally clear to me, it seemed that they thought it was a big seller.
I never considered that people might not buy it because they have the show already. Why the complete lyrics as sung by the "Parking Ticket Lady" is worth the price alone!
Soundtracks in general never sell as well as major artist unless they are released from a highly successful film or contain a bunch of popular artist who already make money in the music business. In general if you are lucky you will go into a store and only find one copy of the soundtrack from various films and TV shows. If you wanted to do a real comparision I would suggest somebody finding out the sales figures for the Xena Musical episode and the Chicago Hope musical episode, each of those spawned a soundtrack from their musical episodes instead of trying to compare the numbers of well established musical artist or movie soundtracks that tend to receive a lot of attention when the film is released, cause those are just apples to oranges comparison.
I have the cd, the dvd and the original script with the music :) I love that episode, it was one of the best. However, the first time I watched it, I was only in the middle of season 2 because I got into the show late, so i was really confused and put off by it. But once I made it to season 6 (like, 2 months later!) i was obsessed and still am with the musical!
150,000, for a soundtrack to a MUSICAL episode of a show is pretty darn good. I have the CD, bought some for friends, have the DVD ... have the script book. *blush* Be honest, it isn't like there was a huge demand for Cop Rock being put onto CD. This is an order of magnitude larger than I expected.
I too am a little surprised at the small number of units that were sold -- maybe it was a low end estimate? Maybe it didn't take into account amazon,com orders, etc?
Maybe I'm just biased because OMWF was the first ep I ever saw and it was how I got into the 'verse in the first place...but I love that damn cd.
well........I was NOT a Buffy fan AT ALL.....until.....I saw OMWF....and it blew my head off...I totally LOVED it....after that I became a rabid fan and than later a rabid Angel fan....
I now own all of both sseries on DVD......and only have 2 more eps to watch of Angel series 4 and that will be the last of all of my angel and buffy days.....I feeling a little down right now........I watched series 5 of Angel live to air and have since purchased all 4 other seasons.....
as far as the music goes.....well....downlopading does happen sometimes???? maybe that contributed somewhat?

[ edited by Caroline on 2004-12-06 02:24. Please don't sign your posts. You've had two warnings. Three strikes out I'm afraid. ]
Well before they released an "official" musical CD there were many copies being sold on Ebay. I bought one from Ebay (I also bought the legal one when it came out) so I'm sure those numbers for people that actually have the Musical on CD are higher. Also, a lot of people were most likely able to make and burn their own CDs from their own copies of the show and it wasn't too hard finding websites that had all the songs as well.

And when compared to those other artists in that article and how many their CDs sold, the OMWF CD did very well.
I remember reading that the soundtrack debuted at 40th on the Billboard charts the week it was released. I got my order from Rounder and got a limited addition poster to go with it. It's a mini poster and features headshots of all of the performers, all done by the same artist who did the movie poster art.
Yes, like blwessels said, the soundtrack was available via eBay for months before Rounder released it, as well as being easily downloadable. Rounder were aware of that, but chose to release it anyway, because they knew they had a quality product.

150,000 copies is very respectable.
I downloaded the tracks, and the episode, since over here we have to wait months to catch up with the US.

However, as soon as they came out I also bought the proper S6 DVD boxset AND the OMWF CD. Joss' liner notes alone justify the CD and I'm pretty sure the tracks were remixed as 'Music' as opposed to 'Soundtrack', the quality is far better and the stage noises (Giles throwing knives, Spike climbing the fence etc) aren't there. It's a far more enjoyable listening experience musicaly.
That isn't a bad number. Remember that BtVS had relatively poor ratings by s6, especially compared to s3, its peak. For 150,000 people to not only watch the episode and stay with it until the end, but also enjoy it and shell out the cash for the soundtrack -- that's pretty good.
I love listening to the soundtrack in my car. The music is wonderfully entertaining by itself, and I get to relive the episode in my mind as each song comes on (while I'm still paying attention to the road, of course). Plus, it's fun when I'm sitting at red lights and singing along to watch the responses of drivers beside and behind me. I've gotten big grins, and even a thumb's-up response before, though whether it was because people recognized what I was listening to or just my show of enthusiasm, I'm not sure. ;)
I just checked amazon.com and the "Amazon.com Sales Rank in Music" for the OMWF soundtrack is #570 . I'm not actually sure how their ratings work - I guess they're changed daily? This looks pretty good, though.
The 150k mark is impressive, I doubt that they expected to sell that many, especially in today's world of internet downloads. I worked at Best Buy a few years ago and Napster then Itunes cut cd sales by more than 50% nationwide.
it's about to be 150001 because i'm new to BtVS and will be getting the soundtrack for Christmas. I think that number will continually grow higher with people watching the reruns and becoming new fans to the show.
I will do the same, charisma. I hope i can buy the CD this Christmas :p
I feel a 150,000 sales record for a soundtrack, paricularity one based on an episode of a TV show, is quite remarkable.
I'm not sure what that 150,000 figure includes. Is that ALL sales or just those in the US? Does it represent sales from the release date until right before publication of the article or some other time period? That number, for a musical episode of a tv show is quite good and it seems like a low estimate of the actual sales.
Maybe they would've sold more copies if they'd released the soundtrack sooner, like within a month of when the episode aired. I downloaded the songs, but also bought the soundtrack. For what it's worth, I prefer the songs as they appeared on the show, sound effects and all.
Piping in as an independent musician - 150,000 is a great number. My trio has only sold 1500 cds in 5 years. It's a little different since we have no distributor, are only local and the call for renaissance/celtic music is not so prevalent these days, but still - that's a great number. You just can't compare OMWF to the bigger bands. It's like comparing Whedon show numbers to Survivor numbers. It's apples and oranges. Quality vs. quantity. I hope Joss is very impressed with that number because I certainly am.

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