Woodstock Controversy Could Boost Live Album Sales

Woodstock Controversy Could Boost Live Album Sales

August 5, 1999 12:00 AM ET

While detectives try to get to the bottom of the Woodstock '99-related rape charges, local politicians introduce legislation to make sure future mass gatherings are more sanitary, and rioters face court dates, festival promoters might take small comfort in the fact that all the lingering controversy might actually help sales of the live Woodstock album due out in September.

"Anything that increases people's awareness of Woodstock will increase album sales," says John Grandoni, vice-president of purchasing for National Record Mart, which owns 185 stores nationwide.

A successful Woodstock album (as well as accompanying home video) is crucial if promoters are to make a profit. Despite 225,000 $180 festival tickets being sold, it's the ancillary items -- the pay-per-view, the album, the TV special, the home video -- that will determine whether or not Woodstock '99 was a money-maker.

Promoters, along with executives at Epic Records, which is releasing the album, have more than enough material to choose from. And a final roster cut should be announced soon.

Yet even if the disc includes cuts by the Dave Matthews Band, Offspring, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Sheryl Crow, and other platinum selling acts, that won't guarantee a hit record. The double live album that commemorated Woodstock '94 has yet to sell 500,000 copies, according to SoundScan. "It was forgettable," says Grandoni.

That's where all the press and mayhem surrounding this year's festival could provide an unexpected boost. "Many people who wouldn't have known about Woodstock without the controversial ending now know about it and are interested," says Grandoni. And as he points out, in the music business "all publicity is good publicity."

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