Billboard — June 30, 2007

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Dad-Rock Debut: Wilburys Travel To Top Of Charts Around The World
By Mark Sutherland
Billboard — June 30, 2007

LONDON — Dads across the globe have united to return the Traveling Wilburys to chart success on the back of huge Father’s Day sales.

“The Traveling Wilburys Collection” (Rhino), which compiles the two albums by the supergroup featuring Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and the late George Harrison and Roy Orbison, scored five No. 1 debuts around the world. The package, which also includes bonus tracks and a DVD, hit the top spot in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Norway, and debuted in the top 10 in the United States, Denmark, Germany and Spain and on Billboard’s European Top 100 Albums chart.

In the United Kingdom the compilation moved more than 110,000 copies in week one, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co., knocking Rihanna from the top and eclipsing first-week sales for Bon Jovi’s “Lost Highway.”

The original albums, 1988’s “Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1” and 1990’s amusingly titled “Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3,” had modest U.K. chart peaks of No. 16 and No. 14, respectively. In the United States, the original issues climbed respectively to No. 3 and No. 11. Both were consistent catalog sellers before their deletion a decade ago.

“We anticipated a top five record,” says Dan Chalmers, London-based VP of Rhino U.K.-International. “But Bon Jovi was a bit challenge for us. Once we saw the first midweek on Tuesday was No. 1, we responded to demand and invested more money in TV advertising, which paid off with 30,000 sales across the weekend.”

Rob Campkin, head of music for U.K. retailer Virgin Megastores, puts the sales surge down to a mixture of pent-up demand, the lure of additional DVD and audio concert, and clever, Father’s Day-targeted marketing.

“For the last 10 years, we’ve had fans of Dylan, the Beatles, ELO, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison asking for it in-store,” Campkin says. “So there was no risk of us underestimating demand. It was good that they put it out for Father’s Day to coincide with the extra footfall in-store, but any week of the year it would still have done well.”

That’s borne out by the album’s performance in Australia, where it shipped gold (35,000 units) in its first week, despite Father’s Day not being due Down Under until Sept. 2. Sydney-based Warner Music Australia VP of marketing and promotions Mark Ashbridge says a further marketing campaign is planned around that date.

“We expect this to go right through until Christmas for us,” says Gabin Ward, Sydney-based managing director of the 200-store Leading Edge retail chain, noting its sales were also at full price: $27 Australian ($23) for the standard edition, $32 Australian ($27) for the deluxe.

In th States, the album’s achievements were only slightly more modest, debuting on The Billboard 200 at No. 9 with sales of 77,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It also claimed the Top Digital Albums throne for the week and arrive at No. 2 on Top Internet Albums.

Rhino Entertainment VP of marketing Sig Sigworth believes the boxed-set-style packaging of the deluxe edition increased its draw as a perfect Father’s Day gift. “When you look at the demographic of these artists individually and collectively, it’s certainly a male-skewing demo,” he says. “And giving a package like this is better than just giving a single CD. It’s something special.”

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