Marcus Canty's debut EP "This ... Is Marcus Canty" has turned into another "X Factor" flop for Epic Records. "This ... Is Marcus Canty" was released in the U.S. on March 5, 2013, and it debuted at No. 114 on the Billboard 200 chart, the most important chart for albums and EPs in the U.S. (Billboard announced the week's chart figures on March 13, 2013.)
Canty came in fourth place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011. Although "This ... Is Marcus Canty" debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes (U.S.) R&B albums chart in its first day on sale, the EP's overall sales during its entire first week were so low that the EP ultimately came in at No. 114 on the Billboard 200. Since most artists' albums and EPs have their strongest sales in their first week on sale, the No. 114 position is probably as high as "This ... Is Marcus Canty" is likely to get on the Billboard 200 chart before it drops off the chart.
"This ... Is Marcus Canty" has been getting mixed-to-negative reviews from music critics. About.com described the EP as "a relatively tepid collection of R&B songs" and noted: "If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, then Trey Songz must be feeling very flattered these days. And that's because former 'X Factor' contestant Marcus Canty sounds uncannily similar to Trey on multiple tracks on his debut seven-song EP." You Know I Got Soul had this to say: "While the EP features solid production, it’s still dragged down by a few rookie mistakes. First single 'In & Out' and 'Tonight' are both catchy but Canty constantly sings out of his range, which snatches the listener out of the experience ... The '106 & Park' crowd will eat this set up; more experienced ears might have slight reservations."
Canty has three singles so far on Epic Records: "Won't Make a Fool Out of You," "In & Out" (featuring Wale) and "Used By You," all released in 2012. Even though the songs got some airplay at R&B radio, and Canty has made appearances BET's "106 & Park," all three songs flopped on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Won't Make a Fool Out of You" made it to a lowly No. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100, while "In & Out" and "Used By You" failed to make it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Canty's EP is another "X Factor" U.S. bomb for Epic Records, which hasn't had any big sales with any former "X Factor" U.S. contestants who are signed to the label.
R&B/pop singer Melanie Amaro, the winner of "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011, has turned into a $5 million flop, since none of her songs released so far has made it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her debut album, "Truly," was originally scheduled for release on Dec. 4, 2012, but the release has now been postponed to a date to be announced.
Hip-hop artist Chris Rene, who came in third place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011, has also failed to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart with any of his singles. Rene's EP "I'm Right Here" (released in October 2012) reached only No. 55 on the Billboard 200 before quickly dropping off of the chart. (Rene has had commercial success in New Zealand though, since his singles have been Top 40 hits there.)
Amaro and Rene are both signed to Syco Music/Epic Records. Syco and Epic are owned by Sony Music.
Teen rapper Astro (whose real name is Brian Bradley), who came in seventh place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011, is also signed to Epic, but the record company has not announced when Astro's first Epic album will be released. In 2012, Astro was working with producers Pharrell Williams and Boi-1da on the album. In the meantime, Astro has released several mixtapes independently after his "X Factor" stint ended.
Fifth Harmony, the girl group that came in third place on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2012, is signed to Syco Music/Epic Records. In February 2013, Fifth Harmony began working on its debut album, whose title, songs and release date are to be announced.
The only "X Factor" artist to have a big hit on Epic so far has been British singer Cher Lloyd, who came in fourth place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010. Her first U.S. single, "Want U Back," reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 2 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. However, her second U.S. single, "Oath" (featuring Becky G.), was a flop: It peaked at No. 96 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It remains to be seen if Lloyd is going to be more than a "one-hit wonder" in the United States. The release date is to be announced for Lloyd's third U.S. single, "With Ur Love." Lloyd's first album, "Sticks + Stones," debuted at No. 9 in the U.S. in October 2012, but the album hasn't even reached gold certification in the U.S.
Epic Records chairman/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid was the "X Factor" mentor for Canty, Rene and Astro. Reid was a judge on "The X Factor" U.S. in 2011 and 2012, but he quit at the end of 2012 because he said he wanted more time for his job at Epic.
As previously reported, Epic Records has fired several of the high-ranking executives whose responsibilities included trying to get hits for the label's new artists: Angelica Cob-Baehler (who was Epic's executive vice president of marketing) was let go in August 2012. Mark Shimmel (who was Epic's COO) and Erik Olesen (who was Epic's senior VP of promotion) were dismissed in January 2013. Their replacements have not yet been named.