'HOUSE' AFIRE

Cheo Hodari Coker wrote that compared to Tony Toni Tone's last album, "Sons of Soul," the new album, "House of Music," "isn't off to a blazing start" ("Time to Jam--or Jam?," Jan. 12).

Wrong! "House of Music" is actually doing better than the last album did at the same stage of development. Had the writer bothered to call me, I would have demonstrated the falsity of this assertion. "House of Music" has now been out for eight weeks and has SoundScanned 318,502 units. By contrast, "Sons of Soul" had SoundScanned 281,961 units after eight weeks. Furthermore, the last three weeks, "House of Music" has gone up in rankings on the pop album chart from 69 to 47 to 36!

More to the point, Tony Toni Tone is an R&B; / pop act whose natural album sales accomplishment has always taken place over a series of songs. Unlike movies, whose opening two weeks are often a reliable predictor of the film's ultimate box office, an album's success, in most cases, can only be properly evaluated after a year.

DANNY GOLDBERG

President and CEO

Mercury Records

Los Angeles

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