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."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »