Jennifer Lopez Can't Be Judged on Record Sales Alone

The first-week sales numbers for Jennifer Lopez's upcoming album — A.K.A. — are not looking good. But I don’t think you can count her, or any other “divas,” out just yet.

25,000-30,000 is the projected number of records Lopez is expected to sell this week when A.K.A. hits shelves on Tuesday, according to The Wrap. Compared to her sales during her all encompassing popularity of the early aughts or even her last album 2011's Love?, which debuted selling 83,000 albums, that sum seems dim. But as my partner-in-office-music-arguements Rich Juzwiak pointed out regarding Mariah Carey’s paltry 58,000 sales of I Am Mariah... The Elusive Chanteuse, it’s a shitty climate for record sales.

Thanks to our generation — yes, us — who grew up on Napster and other file sharing sites, where we’d literally download half of an artist’s catalog before breakfast and then the rest after lunch, it’s tough to sell records. In fact, contemporary artists have to pull Beyoncé-type shenanigans, like solely releasing their albums through one digital source to force consumers to whip out their credit cards. I’m not saying there weren't opportunities to bootleg Bey’s album. But if a fan didn't and hadn't bought the record, the mere annoyance of being unable to watch her videos or listen to any of the songs outside her three singles anywhere besides iTunes might have driven them to purchase. Knowles-Carter shrewdly held her fans hostage and it worked, garnering 617,000 Beyoncé sales her first week and 1.3 million in the first month.

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As for divas like Lopez, let’s be honest, singing isn’t her strong point and never has been. Remember the warbling "Baby I Love U"? J.Lo is a diva because she can dance, act and serve face, in addition to generally being able to hold a note. She has a knack for pop hits, even ones that you can't believe you love like "On The Floor" which sampled a piece of the cheesy 1980s dance-for-the-rainforest-of-my-people movie, The Lambada. That said, the heft of her cache can’t be dwindled down to record sales alone. Among other things like two acting projects slated for 2015, Lopez is still on American Idol and while it might be trailing The Voice in ratings, like Two and A Half Men, someone is watching.

The entertainment industry is a roller coaster, sometimes an artist is inescapable and other times popular culture couldn't care less, but doesn't that just make the fallen all the more primed for a colossal comeback? Besides, according to her Billboard cover story this week, Lopez is comfortable exactly where she is.

"I don't feel like I have anything to prove anymore."

Image via Getty.