Shedding the Pounds: David Archuleta and Ciara on Chopping Block From Record Labels

Posted February 24, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Record labels are dropping dead weight in 2011: David Archuleta gets axed from Jive, Ciara may be next

As the gloomy forecast of partly cloudy record sales trouble the future of the music industry, some record labels are making a motion to relieve themselves of some of their roster members.

In early February, rumors started to circulate that Ciara was dropped from her contract with LaFace/Jive after record sales continued to stagger and sink south for Basic Instinct. It only sold 100,000 copies to date. Ciara responded to the accusations via Facebook and stated that the rumors “at this point is false.” She went on to say: “It is true that I have asked and I pray that my label will release me. I have had some great times and success with my label, but sometimes like all great things, it’s at that point where I feel we don’t share the same views on who I am as an artist.”

The album, propped up with dance-club tunes, currently doesn’t even have a R&B hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs’ chart. With ten weeks on the chart, “Gimmie Dat” stalled at No. 63 and eventually dropped off the chart entirely. Mixed album reviews started to pour in on the album, hurting the album’s credibility. Billboard even discussed its troublesome start in January when it revealed that “sex doesn’t always sell.” In Ciara’s case, sexually-clad videos and freaky dancing music videos for “Love Sex Magic” and “Ride” started to define the nature of Ciara’s risque’ content. So far, Jive has not responded to Ciara’s wishes.

American Idol finalist David Archuleta is now the latest in line for the bad news. With only two studio albums and one holiday project on his record, his contract with Jive was also. Best known for his hit single, “Crush,” Archuleta released The Other Side of Down in 2010. Even with decent reviews, the buying public simply ignored the album and its downfall in sales started to evaporate from the Billboard 200. It sold only 63,000 copies to date, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That’s a far cry compared to the million-selling record sales of his self-titled debut in 2008. But a recent YouTube vlog response from Archuleta on his website – citing the big changes with his management and with Jive Records’ leadership – reveals Archuleta in good spirits and optimistic on his future.

“It just felt like the right time to part ways,” Archuleta said in the video blog post, titled “Decisions, decisions.”

So who’s next? After evaluating the charts, there’s a number of acts that may be next in line on the chopping block.

Other Idol winners are in serious trouble. Forget about the two album/ four-year contracts from before. Debuts from Idol winner Lee DeWyze (Live It Up) and Crystal Bowersox (Farmer’s Daughter) reveal alot of trouble for the Idol brand. According to sources, record sales for DeWyze’s LP are stated to be the lowest from any Idol winner. It was also the first LP to not register in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. It peaked at No. 19 and went south, selling only 112,000 units so far and no longer sits in the top 50 of the Billboard 200. Farmer’s Daughter, released on Jive in December, debuted stronger than DeWyze’s LP and shows some promise. As of February 2011, it has sold 150,000 copies. The self-titled debut from Kris Allen, Idol winner from Season Eight, debuted at No. 11. With strong radio airplay for “Live Like We’re Dying,” the album has sold a little over 300,000 copies, but those models are disappointments when compared with the hit show’s ratings and the releases from former winners like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Fantasia.

Diddy may be a millionaire, but he’s not selling millions with his latest record, Last Train to Paris. Although he’s releasing his albums via his own record label Bad Boy, with national distribution from Interscope, if record sales don’t pick up on the heels of a powerful album single, his distribution deal might be severed. So far the album has peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200, but continues to drop each week dramatically. With only 7 weeks on the chart, the album has dropped to No. 73 since February 12.

Chrisette Michele’s sales for Let Freedom Reign have disappointed R&B lovers. The album debuted at No. 25 in December. Six weeks later, it dropped to No. 160.

Ne-Yo expressed anger about the record sales after the first week of sales for his fourth LP, Libra Scale. He has reasons to be upset since the album slid to No. 100 on the tenth week of  its shelf life. Each week, the album drops from the Billboard 200 at least twenty places. It went from 75-88-100 in three weeks. As of Feb. 26, it sits at No. 78.

Soulja Boy (formerly known as Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em) – best known for “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” – released his third record, The DeAndre Way, in November 2010 on Interscope and quickly left the Billboard 200 in a matter of weeks after debuting at No. 90 on the Billboard 200. It did chart at No. 8 on the Rap Charts but quickly fell off its radar. So far the album has only sold a very modest 56,000 units. Even with four released radio singles (including “Pretty Boy Swag”) and some fairly decent album reviews from critics at Slant and Entertainment Weekly, the album has been long forgotten by Soulja Boy’s peers and fan base.

Kandi, best known for her appearances on ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’ and for recording with R&B ’90’s group Xscape, released Kandi Koated during the height of the 2010 holiday rush. In a matter of weeks, the album sinked to the lower portion of the Billboard 200. Her single, “Leave U,” didn’t raise any eyebrows or earlobes on the R&B charts, stalling at No. 89.

Christina Aguilera may be the singing superstar on tour when it comes to Aretha tributes, Super Bowl warm-ups and NBA ballgame openers, but a very disappointing Bionic may have initiated some grief with her parent record company, RCA/Sony. With sexy singles and using Lady Gaga synthpop, the album was mocked by a number of critics and made an unfavorable impression on radio. A tour to support the album was canned after record sales slipped. On the first week of its release, Bionic debuted at No. 3, but slipped into a coma as it dropped from the Billboard 200 in a matter of months. It has only sold 250,000 copies to date, a fraction when compared to her multi-platinum selling albums Back to Basics and Stripped.

Although the new releases from Cage the Elephant, the Decemberists and Amos Lee have logged in at top spots on the Billboard 200, their drops on the charts don’t appear to be as dramatic since they aren’t historically known to be million-selling mainstream acts. Lee is signed to Blue Note, Cage the Elephant with DSP/Capitol and the Decemberistsis with Capitol, but their albums are posting major improvements in sales and chart postings when compared to previous releases. Lee was scrutinized for having the lowest-selling Number One LP in SoundScan history on its debut week – a record that was held weeks ago by Cake’s latest album Showroom of Compassion. A week later, Lee’s album dropped to No. 26.

Sources: Nielsen SoundScan,, Billboard Magazine (Jan. 22, Feb. 12)


David Archuleta vlogs about his split from Jive Records, continues to be adorable – PopWatch//Entertainment Weekly
Ciara: ‘I Pray That My Label Will Release Me’ –
Ne-Yo Upset Over Album Sales… –

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine



    Jive is a sinking ship. Archuleta was made an offer by them but he declined and is going another direction. Ciara’s begging to be released from her Jive contract.

    Something’s gotta change with all of the illegal downloads. They’re bleeding artists dry.

    J Matt

    Re: to Trev

    Great observation. Illegal downloads was the excuse three years ago. But it’s not that anymore. It’s the economy and old-school label politics…and plenty of freebies, mixtapes and everything else hurting the image of timeless music. When music starts to feel disposable and replacable, and is replaced with blank discs and the absence of liner notes, the quality and expectancy of it diminishes.

    But you’re right; Trev. Jive is looking like the Titanic right about now.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Ralph Jade

    Jive’s gonna die. They’re the killer of star’s career. I wonder why Britney Spears remain standing. Senseless record label.

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