For those of you who thought that maybe after probably two dozen different releases (including their main series), the allure of Kidz Bop would begin to fade... I have bad news to report. Billboard this week reported that the latest Kidz Bop disk, Kidz Bop 19, hit number 2 on the charts this week. Not the Top Kid Audio chart, but the Big Kahuna, the Billboard 200. It sold... wait for it... 70,000 albums. The #2 rank ties the series' highest chart position (Kidz Bop 9) is its its best sales "week since 2007 (Kidz Bop 12, when it debuted with 71,000 at No. 7.
Billboard reported that Kidz Bop distributor Razor & Tie pointed to a stepped-up TV marketing campaign for the album. Also, exclusives at Target and Walmart helped push the title's mass-merchant (e.g., Target, Walmart) share to about 55%.
Razor & Tie also noted in a separate press release that "sales of KIDZ BOP albums have grown nearly 40% over the past 24 months, while overall music industry sales are down more than 20%."
KIDZ BOP 19 also debuted at #1 on the Billboard Children’s Chart, where there are currently two other KIDZ BOP albums in the Top 10. The new release follows a chart-topping 2010 where KIDZ BOP 18 was the #1 Kids’ Album of the year (KIDZ BOP 17 was #2) and the KIDZ BOP Kids ranked as the #1 Kids’ Artist of the year, according to Billboard.
Other kid audio albums on the Billboard 200 include the Big Time Rush soundtrack (53), Disney Princess: Ultimate Song Collection (124), Kidz Bop 18 (131), Hannah Montana Forever (136), Tangled soundtrack (137), and the Aquabats' Hi-Five Soup! (181). That's 7 albums in the top 200, which isn't a bad result. (Compare that, for example, to the top Classical Album, which debuted at #167 on the Billboard 200, or top World Album, which debuted at #111; neither genre chart had more than one album on the main chart.)
Now, as always, chart position has - at best - poor correlation with listeners' perceptions of quality. (I am partial to the Tangled soundtrack myself.) The strong performance of the mass-marketed Disney/Kidz Bop stuff is a double-edged sword for an independent artist, though. On the down side, trying to break through on the Kid Audio chart against those albums is tough. On the other hand, there's value in having the genre doing so well. Sell a couple thousand albums in a week, and you might only hit #6 or #7 on the Top Kid Audio chart... but you might break through onto the Billboard 200 chart as well. (Sell a couple hundred and you could get on the Top 100 Kid Audio chart.) I realize 2,000 albums in a week is a dream for most artists, but it does seem within range of a handful of artists given a concentrated one-week push.
But 70,000 albums? Yeah, that's not happening.