I know. I wrote about Cole last week. But that was before he dropped buckets for the Rwanda Patriots and freestyled over Souls of Mischief “93 Till Infinity” and Mike Jones “Still Tippin.” It was also before the documentary, cover on SLAM, and interview with Kevin Durant! The rollout is impressive.
The fight for attention. The Off-Season’s first-week sales projection is between 280K – 310K units. For context, it’s similar sales number to Lil’ Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake and Taylor Swift’s release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version).
Last week I predicted that it would undersell KOD’s 397,000 because Cole’s not as popular with casual fans as he was in 2018. My prediction was right, but for the wrong reasons.
The rules have changed. First, Billboard has since stopped counting merch album bundles as ticket sales. 44% of Cole’s KOD sales were “pure sales” which was largely driven by merch. The Off-Season, just 13% were pure sales. So to be fair, The Off-Season will be streamed more than KOD was in week one.
Also, The Off-Season is competing against a lot more content than KOD was. Like I said last week, a lot has changed in three years! There are 60,000 songs uploaded per day on Spotify than there were in 2019. That’s 50% more than in 2019. Also, apps like TikTok have grown tremendously in that time. While decision fatigue can draw more attention to established stars like J. Cole, the fragmented landscape is still hard for everyone to compete with.
That’s why his rollout was so important. Everyone needs marketing, even the superstars.
Read more about J. Cole in his cover story in SLAM Magazine.