“Shipping Platinum” – Android Tablets and Kiss Solo Records

On September 18, 1978, Kiss released four solo albums on the same day. They were mostly boring, artistically bereft reflections of what everyone brought to the band’s sound. There was one memorable song, which was a cover of “New York Groove” on Ace Frehley’s album, and about 40 songs you’ll never hear again. Each album received platinum certification before they ever got to the store shelves.

Kiss was so popular, Casablanca Records assumed their audience would buy any record that had the Kiss name on it. As a result, Casablanca Records shipped five million copies to record stores to meet expected demand and spent another $2.5 million marketing the albums. Sales were extremely disappointing, with each album selling less than 250,000 copies. Despite each album shipping “platinum”, none of them reached the Billboard Top 20. As a result, one million of each album was left to sit in the bargain bin. The following year, the RIAA changed their policies on certifying gold and platinum albums to avoid another embarrassment like the Kiss solo records.

According to a recent report from Strategy Analytics (cost: $6,999), Android tablets account for just about 1 out of every four mobile tablets on the market today. I suggest reading 1 in 4 tablets from last quarter run on Android? Hmmm….. from GigaOm.com instead. You’ll see a similar story to the Kiss solo albums. The numbers refer to the number of tablets shipped, not the number of tablets sold.

“One in four tablets sold in Q3 2011 is an Android tablet” is not a fact. This would be like judging the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by the requested number of hot dogs on a plate or giving gold medals for the high jump in the Olympics based on where a competitor placed their bar.

Google reports shipments, Apple reports sales.

Update 10/28/11: Motorola SHIPS 100,000 Xoom tablets in Q3 2011 compared to Apple’s 11.1 million SOLD