Remember when Amazon, to promote its fledgling digital music service, sold Lady Gaga's sophomore album Born This Way for 99 cents during two days of its debut week, and it broke the Billboard 200? Lady Gaga (or, more accurately, her label) was laughing all the way to the bank, since Amazon paid full price for every download sold, and Amazon began a habit of digital music-as-loss-leader that it continues to this day. Now Google, to promote its own third-place digital music operation through Google Play, is offering Katy Perry's third album, Prism, for just a click of a mouse and maybe a little piece of your soul.
|It's all about the price tag|
Prism, which came out in 2013, is obviously not the kind of draw Born This Way was, but it's almost certainly going to be a major windfall for Capitol Records, Perry's label, and a boost to Perry's sales record, even if Billboard probably won't count the free "sales" on the Billboard 200 (I've reached out to Billboard for confirmation, and will update if and when I hear back). It's uneasily clear that Perry and her team have little shame when it comes to promoting an album that, perhaps unavoidably but perhaps deservedly hasn't lived up to the enormous and record-breaking success of the smash Teenage Dream.