All hail the thrasher kings: Limp Bizkit’s ”Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water” sold between 1 million and 1.1 million copies since its release last Tuesday, giving the metalheads the biggest first week sales for a rock group and the fifth best debut ever. Boy band ‘N Sync still hold the opening week crown at 2.4 million, but Bizkit’s showing is impressive for a period when teen pop and hip hop dominate the charts. In fact, not since the early ’90s heyday of alt rock has a guitar wielding group approached the million mark in its debut week (Pearl Jam sold 950,000 copies of 1993’s ”Vs.”).
Here’s how Fred Durst and Co. pulled it off.
The Price Was Right To lure Bizkit’s fans into its stores, Best Buy sold the album for $9.99 — nearly half off its $18.98 suggested retail value and as much as $2 below its wholesale cost. The move angered other retailers, but it certainly didn’t hurt Limp. Nearly 40 percent of ”Chocolate”’s 400,000 first day sales came from Best Buy.
The Tour de Force A free Napster sponsored summer tour let the band preview their new tunes for diehard fans. Then two days after ”Chocolate”’s release, the group expanded their outreach by launching a coheadlining tour with their multiplatinum hip hop labelmate Eminem at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.
The MTV Factor The weekend prior to the album’s release, the music channel aired an all star special featuring the bad boys frolicking with barely clad bunnies at the Playboy Mansion. And on ”Chocolate”’s first day in stores, Limp made an all important sales pitch on ”Total Request Live,” where videos for the singles ”Rollin” and ”My Generation” are top 10 staples.
We hear Carson Daly alone snapped up a dozen copies.