Is three a crowd when it comes to the number of boy bands the market will support? That’s what the music industry is wondering after the tepid debut of the latest 98 Degree album, ”Revelation,” which some expected to elevate them to the league of ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. ”Revelation” sold only 292,000 units its first week, followed by a 150,000 unit second week, even though Universal shipped a whopping 2.6 million copies (a preorder Billboard says was matched or bettered in the last two years only by ‘N Sync, Eminem, and Britney — all albums that sold a million plus their first week).
Universal prez Monte Lipman admits ”we would have liked it to have sold better, but it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. And the last album [which went five times platinum] sold less than 30,000 its first week, so they’ve come a long way.” Billboard’s Geoff Mayfield blames mass merchandisers’ over ordering on the basis of the last ‘N Sync album. ”A lot of orders came in before they had a chance to see how the single [”Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”] was going to fare at radio,” says Mayfield, ”and while it’s not a flop, it’s no ‘Bye Bye Bye.”’ A second single, ”My Everything,” goes to radio this week, giving 98 Degrees another chance at saying hi hi hi.