Kendricks sales: NYC vs L.A
Interesting read about album and singles sales in the main markets.
On wax and in interviews, Kendrick Lamar -- who sits atop the Billboard 200 with To ? a Butterfly this week -- reps his hometown of Compton (and by extension, Los Angeles) hard.
His loyalty to the L.A. hip-hop scene has obviously endeared him to the city -- but does that actually translate into more Los Angelenos buying copies of TPAB as compared to New Yorkers? After all, the New York City market is just bigger than L.A. when it comes to rap. So far this year (period ending March 22, 2015), New York City accounted for 444,000 rap album sales, while L.A. accounted for 401,000 album sales, data courtesy Nielsen Music. For many rappers, no matter which city they hail from, New York accounts for more sales than any other U.S. town.
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But when it comes to Kendrick, things are different -- at least, some of the time.
Of the 324,000 copies TPAB sold in its first week, the largest share per city came from L.A., which snapped up 35,000 copies as compared to New York's 33,000. Considering New York typically accounts for a greater share of rap album sales, that's significant.
As for the good kid, m.A.A.d city album, it notched a much higher sales share in the L.A. market during its first week. For the period ending Oct. 28, 2012, GKMC moved 32,000 album units in L.A. and 21,000 in New York. While those totals have gotten closer over time, L.A. continues to represent for Kendrick. In 2015, nearly 3,000 copies of GKMC have been purchased in the L.A. area, compared to about 2,600 in New York, despite -- as previously mentioned -- the fact that New York has bought more rap albums than L.A. this year.
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Interestingly, the same can't be said for Kendrick's singles. When TPAB's lead single "i" debuted digitally, New York accounted for 10.7 percent of the song's total first week sales, while L.A. made up just 8.5 percent. Sales for GKMC's biggest single, "Swimming Pools (Drank)," are similarly better in New York -- NYC accounts for 7.3 percent of digital downloads, with L.A. making up 5.8 percent of sales (for the period ending March 22, 2015).
Based on this, a pattern seems to emerge: While Los Angelenos will go the extra mile to support their city's flagship rapper when it comes to albums, the same purchasing pattern doesn't apply to downloads.
So while Los Angeles clearly loves Kendrick, it seems the city's preferred way to pay tribute is by paying for albums.