11-25-2015, 01:06 PM
That #1 also includes the however many free downloads with ticket purchases. And that's probably what made it.
Letters from the Labyrinth Reviews
11-25-2015, 01:06 PM
That #1 also includes the however many free downloads with ticket purchases. And that's probably what made it.
11-25-2015, 11:17 PM
(11-25-2015, 11:17 PM)hitman horton Wrote:(11-25-2015, 01:06 PM)NancyL Wrote: That #1 also includes the however many free downloads with ticket purchases. And that's probably what made it.
Well, firstly - the chart does not reflect true album "sales" anymore. It is done with a combination of input that is included for chart position: It tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).
Secondly, yes - albums included with the price of a ticket (or in your words "given away") do count - as long as they are redeemed. That is why they come with individual "codes" and why you had to input your zip code to redeem it. This has been going on for years. Heck, this year artists have gotten even more creative - If you caught a ride using the Lyft app service, you got the new Justin Bieber download included in the price. And yes, those counted as well. It may seem like cheating, but it is legal (in the world of charts):
These are the most updated specs in regards to having these "sales" count:
The requirement for reporting a digital download album sale bundled with a concert ticket are:
With purchase of tickets, with or without an additional fee, customer receives a unique PIN number redeemable for a digital download of the album. Transaction will count as a sale at the point of redemption. Sales will not be held or carried over to a subsequent tracking week, so the redemption should be timed to an album’s scheduled release date or any date thereafter.
In addition: the following conditions must be met.
• Bundle offer must be presented in advance (at least 15 days) for approval to both Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard.
• Any additional incentive for consumer to redeem album (i.e. contesting or further discount offers) is NOT allowed.
• Download album must have its own unique UPC code for clearer tracking.
• Digital fulfillment service must be a long-standing reporter to Nielsen SoundScan for 6+ months from the event occurring.
• There must be satisfactory proof provided to Nielsen SoundScan that the manufacturer received a reasonable and customary payment for each unit from the concert promoter or ticketing agency.
• Nielsen SoundScan must receive digital sales/redemptions directly from the digital service/fulfillment company and must include the consumer’s zip code for each download redeemed.
• The product that is offered as a download to consumers who purchased a concert ticket must be equivalent to product generally available at retail.
11-26-2015, 04:08 AM
So, basically you're saying if someone bought a physical album or ticket or whatever, then they got a digital version for free. So, that means my 1 sale ends up counting as 2 sales. (Theoretically, if I redeem that is and let's say 1/3 of people do as its free and don't we all take advantage of free stuff?). So, that's a fast track to having a hit record. Wow, now I know what to tell bands that want to make it big.
Though, I was given a copy via media site that doesn't count and then had a friend dropbox it to me with the tag "since I know you hate this, here you go". And, if I buy it it'll be used via Amazon as I don't think it's worth the selling price of more than what I make in an hour. So, that's 3 uncredited sales from me.
11-26-2015, 04:27 AM
Though, all being said. It looks like it cracked the top 10 with 45,000 units sold.
Let's be honest, in traditional music sales that's nothing.
From wiki the top 10 selling albums of 2014:
1.1989 / Taylor Swift ~ 3,661,000
2.Frozen: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack / Various ~ 3,530,000
3.In the Lonely Hour / Sam Smith ~ 1,210,000
4.That's Christmas to Me / Pentatonix ~ 1,140,000
5.Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 / Various ~ 898,000
6.Beyoncé / Beyoncé ~ 878,000
7.Partners / Barbra Streisand ~ 856,000
8.Pure Heroine / Lorde ~ 841,000
9.Four / One Direction ~ 814,000
10.The Outsiders / Eric Church ~ 811,000
So, for the moment it cracked the top 10 with an amazing number of sales, true, but how long will it continue to sell? As reviews come out and people talk and share will it stay there? That's the real test of time and value.
But, music is a strange and fickle beast that makes no sense. Of those top 10 of last year only Barbara is a "classic" artist and that's a rare comeback album, not someone who puts out an album a year and continues to tour such as "classic" bands Bon Jovi or the Rolling Stones. So, remove Barb and you've got Beyoncé as the only big long lasting artist. Then you've got the soundtrack to 2 movies and soundtracks are often quite popular. Which leaves Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Pentatonix (who have a Xmas album no less!), Lorde, Eric Church and One Direction as the leaders of new music as counted by sales.
What's that say?
I don't know, but I'll put up the last 3 Asia (original line-up) studio albums against ANY of those top 10 albums. LOL
11-26-2015, 05:22 AM
(11-26-2015, 01:02 AM)danfromnj Wrote:(11-25-2015, 11:17 PM)hitman horton Wrote:(11-25-2015, 01:06 PM)NancyL Wrote: That #1 also includes the however many free downloads with ticket purchases. And that's probably what made it.
Interesting information there. Happy to admit when I'm wrong. Sadly, having a Number One album isn't what it used to be.
11-30-2015, 08:49 AM
I have to say that I was definitely disappointed when I first heard that album. It is hard to come up with completely new stuff that sounds as great as your old stuff while trying to adhere to the "sound" that everyone expects of you.
The album did grow on me after the second and third times through it. I think it is better than many other bands can do, but I agree with the overall direction of the commentators here.
12-02-2015, 01:50 AM
i wonder how the amazon sales count. if you buy the physical cd on amazon you get the free download. even with all the weird loopholes that would seem like a great stretch of cheating to count it as 2 sales.
12-08-2015, 01:04 PM
Another review from http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=18099
With the group's first full length studio in seven years, the hope was high for a return the artistic heights of the band's earliest works. The non-Christmas related release and stories contained within end up making some of the same strides forward (reminiscent of the brilliantly executed Beethoven's Last Night album) and the same steps backwards (that resulted in what I thought was the abysmal Night Castle release).
The first third of the album is consists mostly of lively instrumentals that have the unfortunate result of bleeding together a bit. TSO does open the disc with "Time & Distance (The Dash)", which features a huge vocal chorus providing the lyrical content to the song before they give way to a more rock tempo 2 minutes into the song. Unfortunately, the recycling of bits and pieces of SAVATAGE or even prior TSO material continues unabated because you can clearly hear shades of the SAVATAGE song "Blackjack Guillotine" from their album The Wake Of Magellan (to spotlight just one example). The huge chorus singing lead returns on the song "Who I Am" towards the end of the album, but there the heightened vocal intensity helps make the song better instead of detracting from it.
The album comes fully equipped with a lengthy CD booklet that has three separate stories to coincide with the music. The first is called The Dash and is about a class substitute teacher and the lesson the students receive. The second is a 16 page illustrated story tied to the instrumental "King Rurik" and the third is called Dreams Of Fireflies (which is tied by at least the partial title to TSO's 2012 EP Dreams Of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night).
The song "Prometheus" features Jeff Scott Soto providing the minute long vocal after 2 1/2 minutes of admittedly lively music. But this song tends to get forgotten about or buried in the memory as it is surrounded by a total of four instrumentals. This is a track sequencing of death for the song.
Paul O'Neill co-wrote (mainly with Jon Oliva) most of the material on disc and produced the album (plus played some guitar as well). He's the musical Svengali behind the latter stage of SAVATAGE's recording history and the force behind the continued success of TSO. But the man has to start putting in more original material or shorten up the album instead of recycling previously used material. Case in point: The song "Stay". I realize that most people who listen to the TSO albums will likely not realize that the song was originally performed by SAVATAGE with Zachary Stevens on vocals, but I do and it is kind of annoying to see the song stick out like a sore thumb on Letters From The Labyrinth. It is not that it is a bad take on the song, but the breathy and over-dramatized vocals from Adrienne Warren do nothing to enhance the song here or give it a new life of its own.
While not perfect, things do pick up beginning with track 7 on the disc, a song called "The Night Conceives". It is a masterful rocker that in a way seems out of place being on a TSO album. Aiding the greatness of the song and lyrics is a superb vocal performance by Kayla Reeves. There's a gravel toned inflection on her singing and everything about it makes this song my pick for the showcase track of the set. Reeves also sings lead on the song "Not The Same", but with more of a "clean" tone to her vocals.
Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X, ADRENALINE MOB) has the lead on the song "Not Dead Yet". He comes out on fire from the beginning with a rough and ready vocal accompanied by a rather minimalist musical score, but halfway through the song the vocals end and there is a long instrumental outro that feels like a completely different song altogether. I like the song, but do think it probably should've been split into the two parts so as not to be so polar opposite to itself.
The other standout cut is "Forget About The Blame". It is another electrifying rocker track and there are two versions of the song. The "Sun" version of the track is sung by Robin Borneman and he sings it so magnificently he kind of reminded me of the late and much missed TSO singer Daryl Pediford. Perhaps not so much in vocal sound quality but in the depth of feeling said vocals creating a bond with the listener. The "Moon" version of the song is included as a bonus track and features HALESTORM's Lzzy Hale on vocals. She does an excellent job conveying the lyrical sentiments of the song as well, though I do prefer Borneman's rendition a little bit more.
While I wonder why the band (or more specifically, Paul O'Neill) continues to reuse/recycle so much in the way of previously released material to fuel more TSO songs, I did find myself enjoying a large portion of Letters From The Labyrinth, and given how much I hated their previous full length studio release, that is a marked improvement to say the least. Any time you can get more music from WHITESNAKE guitarist Joel Hoekstra and SAVATAGE mates Chris Caffery, Al Pitrelli and Johnny Lee Middleton, it is a good thing. Of the band's three non-Christmas albums, this one would land somewhere squarely in between the other two. I can only hope that the next album sees more of the strides forward and less of the steps backward.
Letters From The Labyrinth is a very good disc and when it focuses more on the rock side of the ledger, things get amazingly interesting.
3.8 Out Of 5.0
01-29-2016, 01:45 AM
Another review of the album, this time from respected rock news site Team Rock:
Rock opera veterans lose the plot on album six.
They’ve shifted over 10 million albums and played to over 12 million people worldwide since their 1996 debut album Christmas Eve And Other Stories. No doubt about it – Trans-Siberian Orchestra are a certified rock phenomena.
Marrying populist classical music to the strains of 80s hair metal and 90s power metal has been a winning recipe; throw in underpinning concepts/narratives and an OTT live spectacle, and you’ve got a franchise success that creators Paul O’Neill, and Savatage’s Jon Oliva and Al Pitrelli couldn’t possibly have imagined in their wildest dreams.
Where previous albums have almost exclusively been built around consistent (if sometimes convoluted) conceptual “stories”, Letters From The Labyrinth is a collection of tracks that are related only to a tenuous “dialogue between the wisdom of the past and the hopes for the future”. The first six of 15 tracks are mostly instrumental, classical and bombastic. If you like a bit of heavied-up Beethoven, Mussorgsky or Borodin you’ll enjoy The Madness Of Men or Prince Igor. Of the big ensemble numbers here, opener Time And Distance (The Dash) and relatively concise Who I Am are the most immediate and typical TSO staples, delivered by a big rock band, orchestra and a multi-voice choir.
The remainder of the album covers a variety of rock styles. The touted single from the album, _Forget About The Blame _is the sort of over-wrought power ballad that the Scorpions would have rejected for being too country rock. Symphony X’s Russell Allen pops up on Not Dead Yet doing a slightly bizarre rock rap/Captain Beefheart turn over a backing strangely reminiscent of Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion.
Despite the band’s USP being, mainly, unashamedly joyful pomposity with a dizzyingly large cast of musicians and vocalists, the most arresting tracks here are those that feature a lone singer and minimal instrumentation, specifically the three consecutive tracks Past Tomorrow with the fragile haunting tones of Jennifer Cella, Adrienne Warren’s breathy, slightly creepy Stay performance, and robustly sensual lament Not The Same, with Kayla Reeves (who also fronts mid-tempo rocker The Night Conceives) whose voice is a suitably rambunctious amalgam of Doro Pesch and Bonnie Tyler
Taken as a whole though, Letters seems just a little tired and directionless. While it has some real moments, and will doubtless be enlivened by TSO’s touring son et lumière, it isn’t The Christmas Attic or even Night Castle. The band’s formula probably still has legs and an exciting future but here, classical composers aside, their compositions and (brilliantly performed) arrangements do sound rather last century.