Senin, 10 Oktober 2011

'Now' compilation series is a CD survivor

Along with a dozen other hits and four buzzworthy tracks, they'll be on the latest sonic snapshot in the thriving Now That's What I Call Music! series. Now 40 arrives Nov. 8 with such chart-scalers as Britney Spears' I Wanna Go, Rihanna's Cheers (Drink to That), Lady Gaga's You and I, Demi Lovato's Skyscraper and Jason Derulo's It Girl. The deluxe edition's bonus disc adds 16 past hits, including Pink's So What, Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl and Taylor Swift's Love Story.

Now made its U.S. debut in 1998 after racking up 40 No. 1 titles overseas. It has sold 200 million copies worldwide, including 80 million-plus here. All U.S. editions have cracked Billboard's top 10. In 2000, Now 4 entered the chart at No. 1 with 320,000 copies, the brand's first chart-topper and history's first non-soundtrack compilation to reach the summit.

Now that's a hit.

"It's our goal to release the biggest songs we can on every record," says Jeff Moskow, who as Now's head of A&R (artist and repertoire) has been assembling sets since the third disc. "Every song needs to be a hit with massive airplay. We aim for a playlist that makes sense, but we don't make judgments. We're true to what's popular. It's a mirror of the moment."

Artists leery of Now's potential to cannibalize album sales were reassured by research indicating that 70% of consumers use the samplers as incentive to buy more music, Moskow says. And the series ensures a broad reach by "using the cleanest versions of songs available so a mom or dad can listen with kids in the car."

Though sales have slipped along with all CDs in recent years, "Now has maintained a very competitive stance," Moskow says. "We release four (compilations) a year now, instead of three, to make sure every record is as exciting, vital and current as possible."

To enhance timeliness, Now streamlined its licensing and production, says Laura Rutherford, vice president of marketing and operations. And hits are anticipated with "what's next" tracks and songs yet to peak.

"A great example was Adele on (May's) Now 38," she says. Her Rolling in the Deep "was popular in England but not as much here."

A CD stalwart in a digital universe, "Now has not gone out of style." Rutherford says. "It's still relevant for all lovers of mainstream pop music."

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