Posted on 13 November 2009.
Sean Paul is still the top seller in the world of reggae-dancehall. The deejay has moved 70,917 copies of Imperial Blaze after 13 weeks while Matisyahu’s Light sold 58,698 after 11 weeks. Sean Paul’s previous album, Trinity, produced five big hits, “We Be Burnin'”, “Ever Blazin'”, “Give It Up to Me”,”Never Gonna Be The Same” and the U.S. chart-topping smash hit “Temperature”. It sold over three million copies three years ago. Collectively, reggae music titles sold 502,171 units in 2009.
The failure of this album to generate a top ten single or to move major units signals a troubling development for the reggae-dancehall industry which is struggling with anemic sales, sluggish ticket sales at reggae concerts and a general malaise and disenchantment with the art form among older Europeans and Americans.
On the Billboard reggae charts, Bob Marley’s best selling set, B is for Bob which moved 35,760 copies after 20 weeks. Titles such as Reggae Gold 2008 continued its good showing, selling 40,096 after 73 weeks, while its followup, Reggae Gold 2009 sold 18,949 after 20 weeks. The reggae band, Rebelution sold 20,311 of Bright Side of Life after 14 weeks, while Ziggy Marley keeps the Marley name strong, moving 36,152 of Family Time after 28 weeks; his brother Julian Marley registered sales of 8,768 of Awake.
Tarrus Riley’s Contagious hasn’t spread like a superful only moving 4,736 after 14 weeks, while Jah Cure’s Universal Cure moved 5,319 units after 30 weeks. Compilation albums have not fared much better as UB40’s Greatest Hits sold 26,323 while Shaggy’s Boombastic Collection moved 8,845 after 60 weeks, and Tanya Stephens’ ‘Tanya The Hits Collection’ has sputtered, moving only 864 units after nine weeks. Sizzla’s ‘The Very Best of Sizzla’ sold over 10,000 units.
After 36 weeks, Mavado’s ‘Mr. Brooks..a Better Tomorrow’ registered sales of 14,000 plus while Beres Hammond’s Moment in Time sold 11,124 after 63 weeks. Buju Banton’s Rasta Got Soul crested the 8,000 mark after 28 weeks. Queen Ifrica’s ‘Montego Bay’ tanked with only 2,726 units moved after 21 weeks.
There were pleasant surprises like Heavy D’s Vibes which sold almost 10,000 copies after 57 weeks, and the Bermudan-born Mishka’s Above the Bones (pictured above) which sold over 14,091 copies after 38 weeks. Born to a Bermudian father and Canadian mother, Mishka is known for his unique brand of soulful roots-reggae.and is signed to actor Matthew McConaughey. The album is produced by Matthew McConaughey and Atlanta producer/musician Daryl Thompson (Sly & Robbie, Peter Tosh), tracks ‘Coastline Journey’ and ‘3rd Eye Vision’ are featured in McConaughey’s latest movie ‘Surfer Dude.’