Anthony Kuzminski discusses some of the possible reasons (other than the padding of album sales in the first week by forcing people to purchase the digital album with pre-sale tickets) for this decline on The Screen Door.
Bob Lefsetz also had some interesting things to say in an e-mail to his subscribers... here's a taste:
If older folk still buy music and younger people steal it, why did John Mayer sell almost twice as many albums the first week out as Bon Jovi?
Yes, according to hitsdailydouble.com, John Mayer sold 301,204 copies of his new album, "Battle Studies", this week. Whereas last week, Bon Jovi moved 165,871 copies of "The Circle".
Ready for some truly horrifying news? This week "The Circle" fell all the way to number 19, selling 50,153 copies, a whopping drop of 70%. Whew!
What's the difference between John and Jon?
One is living in 2009 and the other is living in the last century.
Jon Bon Jovi was positively old media, tying in with NBC.
John Mayer was new media, appearing in concert on Fuse and tweeting up a storm.
It doesn't matter the total reach, it matters who actually watches and what the perception is.
Fuse would be canceled, the entire channel, if its programming was on NBC. To say the ratings are anemic would be charitable. But Fuse airs music, unlike MTV. And most people watching the shows featuring Bon Jovi on NBC don't give a shit about the man's music. In other words, Jon's shoving it down the wrong people's throats.
EDIT: The full article is now up on Bob's website. Click here for the link.