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The impact of TV concert specials on record sales is difficult to gauge directly, but the huge TV turnout for Jackson has certainly helped keep "Invincible" in the Top Five.
CONCERTS FOR COUCH POTATOES
Jagger, Jackson, Brooks, Spears, Lopez Replace Joey, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Ross and Rachel in Your Living Room
’Tis the season to put your biggest recording stars on TV.

Music on television is big business these days, and a number of superstar concert broadcasts are on tap as the holiday selling season kicks into high gear.

The current spate of live concert events was kicked off by the unprecedented cooperative responses to 9/11 that distinguished both the America: A Tribute to Heroes broadcast on Sept. 21 and The Concert for New York City on Oct. 20. Those concerts attracted millions of viewers and raised millions of dollars for relief efforts.

Starting this month, however, concert specials aimed at raising millions of dollars for those networks, artists and labels putting them on have been coming at a rapid pace, with Michael Jackson’s self-congratulatory 30th Anniversary Celebration, broadcast on CBS on Nov. 13, raising the bar for all comers. The two-hour show pulled in 25.7 million viewers and came in third for the week with a 15.7 rating/24 share.

Next, on Nov. 14, the first of three Garth Brooks specials aired on CBS. Brooks drew a more modest audience of 8.4 million with a 3.4 rating/9 share.

And this week started off with Britney Spears’ Nov. 18 Vegas spectacular (if you listen carefully, you can still hear a Viagra-charged Bob Dole shouting "Down, boy") on HBO, followed by Jennifer Lopez’s "first concert ever" from Puerto Rico, Nov. 20 on NBC. At press time, ratings for these broadcasts had not yet been released.

The impact of TV concert specials on record sales is difficult to gauge directly, but the huge TV turnout for Jackson has certainly helped keep Invincible in the Top Five. The album slid only 7% this week, an improvement over last week’s 49% slide from its stunning #1 debut. It’s harder to say what effect Brooks’ first broadcast on his Scarecrow LP, which bowed this week at #1 but is performing below expectations.

"TV exposure can help maintain momentum a superstar enjoys out of the box, which is my polite way of saying that ‘it stops the plummeting,’" says Wherehouse Music’s Bob Bell. "Sales might even be flat, but without the TV show, they could very well have been down."

Among the concert specials still to come: Being Mick, featuring concert and documentary footage on Mick Jagger (Thanksgiving, ABC); NSYNC Live! The Atlantis Concert (11/23, CBS); U2: Elevation Live 2001 (11/23, VH1); and Janet Jackson: All for You, Live in Concert From Hawaii (2/17, HBO).

Many suggest the apparent surge in popularity for televised concerts has been driven by a news-weary public’s need for escape. "Our sense is music is playing an even more important part in people’s lives than ever, and that people will turn to the artists they love for relief," says VH1 Exec. VP Talent and Music Programming Rick Krim. "Using U2 as an example, they’re a band that’s all about the positive, that really speaks to their audience—and there’s no better time for that than right now."

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