Christmas Release Schedule Raises More Sales Concerns

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Major labels are not enjoying a fruitful holiday season, thanks to lukewarm post-Thanksgiving sales levels.

But buying activity over the next few weeks may also be soft, and a release schedule thin on big-name, superstar releases may fail to generate heavy traffic levels.

Multi-platinum heavyweight Mary J. Blige (Geffen) is among the bigger names, though her album, Growing Pains, is not expected until December 18th.  Among the others pushing holiday-quarter releases are Birdman (Cash Money), Wyclef Jean (Columbia), Godsmack (Universal/Republic), Too $hort (Jive/Zomba), Wreckers (Reprise), Daft Punk (Virgin), and Wu-Tang Clan (SRC), according a schedule recently published by Hits Magazine.

Those are well-known artists, though previous years have seen more potent rollouts.  Meanwhile, bigger superstars have already pushed product into the marketplace, and will probably experience a bump over the next few weeks. That includes the Wal-Mart exclusive Eagles, as well as Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Chris Brown, Celine Dion, and Josh Groban.  The soundtrack to High School Musical 2 is also expected to perform solidly.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.