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Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2004

New Jackson album faces tough test

Sales fallout from Super Bowl ‘wardrobe malfunction’ remains to be seen

March 31, 2004

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— MTV's "Spanking New" videos in heavy rotation include a gyrating, cleavage-baring Beyonce and a bleeped-out Eminem with his group D12.

Yet the sedate new video from Janet Jackson, a fixture on the cable channel for almost two decades and its first "MTV Icon," has been curiously absent from its playlist.

That's not Jackson's only problem. Her first single, the rock-tinged "Just a Little While," fizzled at radio. The second, the ballad "I Want You," hasn't got much love from Top 40 stations, though it is shaping up to be a hit for black radio.

If Jackson's Super Bowl breastcapades were a stunt to promote her CD "Damita Jo," which came out Tuesday, it doesn't seem to have helped.

"Some stations received negative calls the day after from people who, beyond whether they were offended, recognized it as the latest publicity stunt in an attempt to up the ante on (MTV smoochers) Britney and Madonna," said radio analyst Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming for Edison Media Research.

Jackson's Feb. 1 Super Bowl appearance was intended to heighten anticipation for "Damita Jo," her first album in three years.

Instead, when Justin Timberlake ripped off a piece of her clothing to reveal her bare breast (which they called a "wardrobe malfunction"), the outcry was dramatic. Then came the FCC investigation, congressional hearings and widespread criticism of CBS, halftime show producer MTV -- and Viacom, owner of CBS and MTV.

Last week, network spokesman Graham James said her new video hadn't been played simply because it hadn't been submitted by her label yet. He said no executive was available to discuss the matter.

Jackson, appearing on "The Late Show with Dave Letterman" Monday, told Letterman that her breast-baring, when a piece of clothing was yanked off by duet partner Justin Timberlake during the halftime show, "was totally an accident. It wasn't a stunt."

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