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"I wasn’t going to stop Napster from putting up this album. The RIAA is busy doing that."
—Roy Lott

ROY HAS A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE FOR RADIOHEAD

Capitol President Says "Great Albums By Great Artists Will Sell."
It was a very good week for Capitol Records Group President/CEO Roy Lott.

First, the year-long WMG-EMI merger plan was withdrawn after failing to address the concerns of the European Commission.

And then, his label's much-anticipated Radiohead album, "Kid A," topped the HITS Top 50 in its first week of release, selling more than 225k albums.

Lott acknowledges being surprised when he learned first-day sales would be close to 75k.

"We knew they had a core of fans," he said. "After all, their last album sold close to 1.3 million copies. Our job was to reach those fans beyond the core. We made sure everyone who was a potential buyer knew the album was in stores. Between new and old media, you had to be under a rock to ignore this record."

And while Lott agrees the band's Internet strategy of viral marketing and offering free streams of the album online was integral in its success, he points to the fact "Optimistic" is the band's biggest radio single since "Creep," from 1993's Pablo Honey: "There's a direct correlation between airplay and sales. And we're going to deliver that album."

As for sustaining the first-week momentum, Lott points to the band's two-week promotional jaunt, which begins with a sold-out show at New York's Roseland tonight and culminates with an appearance at L.A.'s Greek Theater next Friday (10/20) as perfect timing. "They landed in New York and 10 minutes later, we called to tell them the album was #1," said Lott. "We look like absolute geniuses."

The band will appear on the season's second Saturday Night Live this weekend, then play a show in Toronto on Tuesday (10/17).

"Great albums by great artists will always sell," added Lott. "With the right job done by the record company, they will find their audience. You can sell a lot of records if you get it right. This is niche marketing as opposed to mass marketing, but it's a pretty big niche. This is just a great record. People like it. We were not afraid to let them hear it. We figured, if you heard it, you would buy it. It's a strange, but beautiful, record. Once you hear it, you want to hear it again."

Lott agrees that online as well as offline exposure helped people do just that: "We encouraged radio stations to play the whole album, which we never would have done back in the days when we worried about home taping. I wasn't going to stop Napster from putting up this album. The RIAA is busy doing that. We just wanted people to hear the music and judge it themselves, without going by what anyone else was saying about it."

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(Adele.)
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