HITS Daily Double
"Our mandate as a company was to put the album in listeners' hands the way Eminem intended them to get it, and to do it as quickly as possible to battle the problems we were having with illicit copying."
——Steve Berman, Intersope Geffen A&M head of sales & marketing


New Album's Unprecedented Sunday Release Date Had Buyers Going Straight From Church to Record Stores
Let's just hope there are enough people out there who haven't downloaded it off the Internet.

Forget never on a Sunday. Eminem's eagerly awaited The Eminem Show hit retail shelves yesterday in an unprecedented move by Interscope Records to try to circumvent the illegal downloading and bootlegging that had taken place on the Web.

The album was available at most retailers nationwide, as well as at the giant WHFStival in Washington, DC, at RFK Stadium, where the man himself caused a mosh-pit riot Saturday night (5/25) with several people injured. Talk about your marketing setup.

The first 2 million copies of the CD, which was selling for $12.99 at Tower, included a 30-minute DVD, featuring a 1998 video clip, live tracks from Japan and N.Y., a preview of his upcoming biopic 8 Mile and interview clips, while the booklet includes full lyrics. Now, we haven't viewed the DVD, but N.Y. Times reporter Jon Pareles, who has, quotes Eminem as saying in an interview bit, "Thank you so much for getting it off the Internet first and dubbing copies for all your fucking friends."

In a game of who would blink first, Interscope Records agreed to let retailers sell Eminem's eagerly anticipated The Eminem Show album this past Memorial Day weekend to take advantage of what traditionally has been brisk holiday shopping. The label effectively moved up the retail date for the second time late last week. The album was originally slated for a May 28 release, was moved to June 4, then moved back to its initial date after widespread downloading of the record.

Steve Berman, head of sales and marketing for Interscope Geffen A&M, remarked: "We found we were able to meet the demand and get The Eminem Show into the stores even earlier than expected. Our mandate as a company was to put the album in listeners' hands the way Eminem intended them to get it, and to do it as quickly as possible to battle the problems we were having with illicit copying. We saw no reason to have fans waiting until Tuesday in this particular case."

Interscope head of sales Candace Berry denied rumors of retailers breaking street date.

Wherehouse Music buyer Violet Brown told HITS, if anyone in her markets had broken street date, she'd have followed suit immediately. Pre-release orders were said to be at some 3.3 million.

With the Eminem record rescheduled to come out just after the Memorial Day weekend, shipments were reaching stores last Friday, five days before the official release date. At that point, it was expected some independent retailers would break with street date and start selling the album over the weekend, hence the adjustment to Sunday.

But the likelihood that retailers would sit on what's expected to be the biggest release of the last couple of years for the two days between Friday and Sunday was, well, slim, to say the least. At the Virgin Megatore in Costa Mesa, CA, for example, quantities of the Eminem disc were on shelves by midday Saturday, although sales were initially less than brisk because shoppers were unaware that it was available. That was fine with the clerk behind one register. "I don't want it to get crazy," he said.

Whatever early sales the album accrues will land it on the charts tomorrow (5/28), previously the official street date. Eminem's last album, The Marshall Mathers LP, set a then-record with 1.8 million in first-week sales in 2000.