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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

1991.09.21 - Billboard - Sticky Business Or No, GN’R’s Orders At 4 Mil

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1991.09.21 - Billboard - Sticky Business Or No, GN’R’s Orders At 4 Mil Empty 1991.09.21 - Billboard - Sticky Business Or No, GN’R’s Orders At 4 Mil

Post by Blackstar Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:45 pm

1991.09.21 - Billboard - Sticky Business Or No, GN’R’s Orders At 4 Mil 1991_063
1991.09.21 - Billboard - Sticky Business Or No, GN’R’s Orders At 4 Mil 1991_062

Sticky Business Or No, GN’R’s Orders At 4 Mil

■ BY CHRIS MORRIS and ED CHRISTMAN

LOS ANGELES—Despite the fact that two of the country’s largest mass merchandisers, K mart and Wal-Mart, have decided not to carry the new Guns N’ Roses albums, Gef­fen Records has racked up advance orders totaling 4 million units for “Use Your Illusion I” and “Use Your Illusion II.”

Responding to other retailers’ jit­ters, Geffen has yanked a sharply worded lyric advisory sticker off of the albums and will replace it with a less abrasive version, although the original label will appear on the first commercial copies of the records.

The records by the L.A. hard rock hand, which are being issued simulta­neously by the label, weigh in as the top preorder entry in industry his­tory. By comparison, Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” thought to be the single­ album leader, logged more than 2 million units in initial orders.

Due in stores Tuesday (17), the ea­gerly awaited albums will be launched at retail with “midnight sales” on the day of release at several major chains and other special pro­motions.

Geffen sales chief Eddie Gilreath says that Amarillo, Texas-based rack- jobber Western Merchandisers, which is owned by Bentonville, Ark.- based Wal-Mart and counts the chain as its largest customer, “did not buy [the albums] at all,” while the Hand­leman Co. in Minneapolis is selling the albums to some accounts, but not to its K mart customers. He attri­butes the chains’ hesitancy about the albums to Guns N’ Roses’ notorious reputation and concerns about the records’ lyrical content.

Gilreath believes that, if K mart and Wal-Mart outlets, which total more than 3,000 stores, had handled the records, Geffen could have tallied another 1 million orders for the two albums.

“[The racks] are in what they call a host environment, and they tried very vigorously to convince K mart and Wal-Mart to take the project,” Gilreath says. “It was a flat ‘no’ from K mart and Wal-Mart... They would prefer to lose all that revenue based on the fear of a complaint from a par­ent. They’re doing a censorship job before they even find out if anyone has a problem with it.”

Executives of the Handleman Co., which racks K mart, were unavail­able for comment. In the past, howev­er, they have said that their accounts do not like to handle albums with con­troversial lyrics.

Western Merchandisers VP of sales Bob Cope says the rackjobber has not yet decided whether to buy the Guns N’ Roses titles, although he notes that Hastings Books, Music and Video, a sister company of West­ern Merchandisers that is not owned by Wal-Mart, will carry those albums.

‘FAMILY STANDARDS'

Cope explains that Western Mer­chandisers is not in the business of trying to censor artists, but that their material has to meet the family stan­dards set by Wal-Mart.

“Basically, it’s Wal-Mart’s policy not to carry albums with RIAA stick­ers and/or objectional lyrics,” Cope says. “But I have not heard or seen the albums yet. If they have stickers or objectionable lyrics, we will not carry the albums.”

Many of the 30 songs on “Illusion I” and “Illusion II” feature strong profanity, and 11 tracks contain the word “fuck.” While none of the new songs appears likely to excite the loud controversy ignited by “One In A Million” on the mini-album “GN’R Lies,” some—notably “Back Off Bitch” and “Pretty Tied Up”—in­clude harsh lyrics about women.

Anticipating objections about con­tent from some quarters, Geffen will sticker the albums with not one, but two advisories—although, in the case of one sticker, it will not be the same sort of advisory that was initially en­visioned.

The jewel boxes of “Illusion I” and “Illusion II” review copies delivered to writers Sept. 11 bore the droll ca­veat, “This album contains language which some listeners may find objec­tionable. They can F?!* OFF and buy something from the New Age sec­tion.” This label was covered by a conventional RIAA parental advisory on the shrink wrap.

Gilreath says that the “F?!* OFF” sticker is present only on initial runs of the albums, and that it will be re­placed by a more mildly worded stick­er expressing the band’s sentiments. He says the RIAA sticker will also appear on both packages.

“We’re trying to be sensitive to our customer,” Gilreath says. “This sec­ond sticker says the same thing, it just doesn’t say it as pointedly.”

A Geffen source says of the switch, “From the standpoint of the accounts, the releases were contro­versial enough. They thought the stickers might create further prob­lems.”

One problem, however, has been ameliorated: With the decisions of Wal-Mart and K mart not to carry the albums, the retailers’ competition has been substantially reduced, at least in the long run.

Even if these chains carried the al­bums, “I just can’t see a lot of Guns N’ Roses fans lining up outside the local K mart on Tuesday morning, waiting for the store to open so they can buy the album,” says Chuck Papke, VP of marketing and purchas­ing at 35-unit, Troy, Mich.-based Har­mony House. “But I think it will in­crease our sales come the fourth quarter when Mom goes out shop­ping for the holidays. K mart is all over the Detroit and the South Michi­gan area, and their not carrying the album can be nothing but a plus for our sales.”

Ron Phillips, director of marketing and purchasing at 57-unit, Miami­based Spec’s Music & Video, agrees with Papke. “There is no question that we benefit,” he says. “For the general consumer that buys this type of record, they will come to us if the discounters don’t carry the album. Also, the next time an album like this comes out, they won’t go to K mart and Wal-Mart, because they have ex­perienced poor customer service due to those chains not carrying the al­bum. So it will increase customer loy­alty to Spec’s.”

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Many of the retail accounts that are carrying the Guns N’ Roses al­bums are gearing up for massive sales on the day of release.

A number of the largest chains in the country, including the Musicland Group, Tower Records, Hastings, the Wherehouse, Sound Warehouse, Camelot Music, Turtles Music and Video, and Trans World Music, will keep their doors open and put the GN’R albums on sale at midnight Tuesday (17). (Retailers recently fol­lowed a similar path with Elektra’s “Metallica” album.) Gilreath says a large number of independent stores will also pursue such promotions.

According to Gilreath, Musicland, the Minneapolis-based chain with 1,000 stores, made the single biggest order, of 500,000 units. The chain has been taking advance orders from con­sumers, guaranteeing them that they will receive the albums Tuesday and offering a discount if both records are purchased. Gilreath says the chain anticipates 100,000 discount or­ders, representing 200,000 units.
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