Archive for the ‘Who Charted’ Category

Jay-Z’s First-Week Sales: Not Quite Eminem-Level, But Not Bad By Any Stretch

Unsurprisingly, Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 debuted atop today’s Billboard 200, thanks to sales of 476,000 copies in the time that elapsed between its release last Tuesday and Sunday night. But how did Jay’s first-week numbers fare in the more rarefied arena of No. 1 debuts? I crunched a few numbers to figure out just how all of the albums that topped the charts in their first week of sales fared, and came away slightly surprised!


It wasn’t surprising that Eminem’s first-week numbers for Relapse were the best posted by a debuting album all year, but I was a bit taken aback by the fact that a little rock band called U2 beat Jay out by a slim margin:


1. Eminem, Relapse (608,000, June 6)
2. U2, No Line On The Horizon (484,000, March 14)
3. Jay-Z, The Blueprint III (476,000, Sept. 26)
4. Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King (424,000, June 20)
5. Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable (351,000, April 25)
6. Maxwell, BLACKsummer’snight (316,000, July 25)
7. Whitney Houston, I Look To You (305,000, Sept. 19)
8. Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. (304,000, June 27)
9. Daughtry, Leave This Town (269,000, Aug. 1)
10. Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted (255,000, March 28)
11. Jonas Brothers, Lines, Vines, And Trying Times (247,000, July 4)
12. Bruce Springsteen, Working On A Dream (224,000, Feb. 14)
13. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown (215,000, May 30)
14. The Fray (179,000, Feb. 21)
15. Keith Urban, Defying Gravity (171,000, April 18)
16. Rick Ross, Deeper Than Rap (158,000, May 9)
17. George Strait, Twang (155,000, Aug. 29)
18. Now 30 (146,000, April 11)
19. Bob Dylan, Together Through Life (125,000, May 16)
20. Demi Lovato, Here We Go Again (108,000, Aug. 8)
21. Colbie Caillat, Breakthrough (106,000, Sept. 12)
22. Fabolous, Loso’s Way (99,000, Aug. 15)
23. Reba McEntire, Keep On Loving You (96,000, Sept. 5)
24. Chrisette Michele, Epiphany (83,000, May 23)
25. Sugarland, Live On the Inside (75,000, Aug. 22)


Maybe it’s just that the expectations for U2′s album were a lot higher than those for Blueprint 3—recall that last week, early estimates had Jay’s first-week sales somewhere around the 300k mark—but the reaction when the numbers finally came out was very different than the semi-triumphant reception this week’s numbers are getting, no? I guess the summer was really that bad for the biz…


Beatles, Jay-Z Dominate Album Charts [Billboard]

Sales Don’t Lie: People Really Like Buying Shakira Songs

A blogger at Yahoo! has a list claiming to count down the world’s 20 biggest-selling singles released after 2000, all of which have topped the five-million-sold mark around the globe. The surprising thing about the list, aside from Shakira’s dominance (songs by the hip-shaking Colombian singer take up 20% of the list), is how many recent songs are on it; from the last 18 months alone, you have Britney Spears’ “Womanizer,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl,” Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance,” and Pink’s “So What.” Sure, the ruling of later-decade singles can probably be chalked up in part to the rise of iTunes as the single-serving store of choice, but I really thought that “So What” would at least have taken a backseat to “Umbrella,” sales-wise. Full list after the jump.

1. Hips Don’t Lie (featuring Wyclef Jean) – Shakira
2. Crazy In Love (featuring Jay-Z) – Beyonce
3. My Humps – Black Eyed Peas
4. Toxic – Britney Spears
5. Womanizer – Britney Spears
6. Oops!… I Did It Again – Britney Spears
7. Stan – Eminem
8. Low – Flo Rida
9. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams – Green Day
10. I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry
11. Just Dance (featuring Colby O’Donis) – Lady Gaga
12. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
13. Hung Up – Madonna
14. We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
15. So What – Pink
16. Umbrella (featuring Jay-Z) – Rihanna
17. Whenever, Wherever – Shakira
18. Underneath Your Clothes – Shakira
19. La Tortura – Shakira
20. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue

Biggest Selling Singles Since The Year 2000 [The Y! Music Playlist Blog]

Grizzly Bear’s Nice Pricing Pays Off

veckatimest200I haven’t reported much on the album charts lately, because, frankly, “another sucky week of sucky sales” isn’t really news, and really there needs to be a move toward a better way of gauging popular interest in music, if only because actually going out to buy an album is an experience that fewer and fewer people are even able to engage in, let along want to. But the news that Grizzly Bear’s much-hyped, long-ago-leaked Veckatimest had landed in the top 10 this week is notable, if only because of a note buried in this week’s Billboard story running down the mag’s top albums:

Indie rock band Grizzly Bear is having its best week ever as its third full-length studio set, “Veckatimest,” arrives at No. 8 with 33,000. That’s the first album to chart on the Billboard 200 for the Massachusetts band and it also gives the quartet its best sales week. 40% of its sales came from downloads while another 24% were shifted at independent and small chain stores.



So, 40% of its sales–roughly 13,000 of them–came from downloads… and conveniently, Veckatimest was a mere $3.99 at Amazon MP3 last week. Now, the Top Digital Albums chart doesn’t break out data by store, and as anyone who glances at the Internet knows, the album was given kudos in almost every quarter of the Internet that fancies itself a place where “important” music gets discussed. But given that similarly lauded bands have seen monetary resistance to their recorded efforts, isn’t Amazon’s low price point at least worth noting? Especially as people figure out how to finance records that, like Veckatimest, took a notable effort to put together, that probably won’t be on the ever-shrinking music-centric shelves at Wal-Mart (although hey, if it is, kudos to whatever distributor hooked that up), and that can’t be paid for by just simply “making it back on the road”?


Eminem Stays Atop Billboard 200; Grizzly Bear, Manson Debut Top 10 [Billboard]

Yep, Lots Of People Will Get The Taylor Swift Album For Christmas This Year

Taylor Swift’s Fearless moved back into the top spot on the album charts this week, thanks to a 29% sales gain that brought the album’s one-week sales totals just shy of the 250,000-sold mark. And the eagle-eyed folks at the trade mag Hits, who have access to one-day sales figures from various retailers around the nation, are projecting that the next chart week will be even better for the album, with sales somewhere between 330,000 and 350,000 copies. After the disappointing Black Friday numbers for Chinese Democracy and 808s And Heartbreak, I engaged in a little bit of prediction as far as what albums would get big sales boosts from the run-up to the gift-giving season. So, how am I doing, keeping in mind that sales overall were down 14.4% compared to last year and 45% from this period in 2006?



1. Taylor Swift, Fearless: As noted, its momentum is unstoppable.
2. Coldplay, Viva La Vida: Up 15% from the previous week, with 35,000 sales (No. 41).
3. Pink, Funhouse: Up 32% from its previous week, with 61,000 sales (No. 19).
4. Jonas Brothers, Jonas Brothers / A Little Bit Longer / Camp Rock soundtrack: Up 25% (19,000 sold, No. 64); up 32% (59,000 sold, No. 22); up 25% (25,000 sold, No. 54).
5. David Archuleta: Up 6% (59,000 sold, No. 21).

Hey, do I know what people want to give for the holidays or what? Other big gainers included Miley Cyrus’ Breakout (No. 20, 60,000 copies sold), AC/DC’s Black Ice (No. 8, 110,000 copies sold), and Rascal Flatts’ new greatest-hits collection (No. 23, 53,000 sold). Also of note is that in its third week on the chart, Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak only stumbled about 10%, remaining in the top 10 for a third week (No. 6, 127,000 sold)—that’s a far cry from the fate of its Black Friday competitor, Chinese Democracy, which is skidding down the charts and nearly dropped out of the top 30 this week (No. 29, 47,000 sold). I wonder if Best Buy’s way of dealing with “rapid” and “seismic” sales losses from the past six weeks will result in any deep discounting of the album?

Taylor Swift flies high on chart as sales slide [Reuters]

The Top Five Albums That Are Going To Be Given As Holiday Gifts This Year: An Unscientific Survey

Sure, Black Friday was a disappointing day for artists who had new releases out, but a little bit of digging into SoundScan shows that the numbers weren’t all bad. Taylor Swift, for example, had quite the banner week; her new album Fearless experienced a rare third-week upswing, one that was so dramatic, she nabbed the No. 2 spot on the chart, ahead of Chinese Democracy—and her old album surged back into the Top 30, too. There were many other artists whose albums’ sales tallies improved from the prior week, no doubt thanks to some people out there still being OK with the prospect of holiday shopping. (Not too many, but a few.) After the jump, a look at which albums actually performed well on the first-gift-giving-week’s chart, and the family members for whom they’re likely being snagged.



1. Taylor Swift, Fearless
THE NUMBERS: Up 23% in its third week on the chart, Fearless sold 267,000 copies during Black Friday week, or about 6,000 more units than Guns N’ Roses’ much-talked-about Chinese Democracy. And her two-year-old debut album was up 68% week-to-week as well, selling 40,000 copies and coming in at No. 29.
THE GIFTEE: Oh gosh, anyone, really. She’s adorable! And her sparkly guitar! OK, maybe those people who want Black Ice will balk at opening this. And so will the Jonas Brothers. But anyone else.

2. Coldplay, Viva La Vida
THE NUMBERS: Up 127% from the previous week, Viva sold 43,000 copies and vaulted to No. 25 (from No. 54). That’s no doubt thanks in part to the release of a deluxe edition that tacked on the Prospekt’s March EP—which sold 77,000 copies on its own and debuted at No. 15—but one can’t overestimate the broad appeal of Chris Martin & Co, and the fact that they’re one of the few rock bands left who actually have some sort of wide-spanning celebrity status.
THE GIFTEE: The cool aunt who has everything. (And who probably has this disc already, and will exchange it for a copy of the Killers’ Day & Age.)

3. Pink, Funhouse
THE NUMBERS: A 46% increase over the previous week gives Pink a reverse bullet (she slipped from No. 19 to No. 20 on the chart, despite seeing a sales increase of about 19,000 copies); her two performances on the American Music Awards telecast probably helped her show the album’s “serious” side to prospective buyers, since she eschewed the bratty “So What” for a wrenching performance of “Sober” and a duet with Sarah McLachlan on the tear-jerker “Angel.” (I’m kind of surprised that song isn’t available for purchase on iTunes yet, honestly—all the money could go to the ASPCA!)
THE GIFTEE: The awkward cousin who wears PETA t-shirts to family events.

4. Jonas Brothers, A Little Bit Longer; Jonas Brothers; Camp Rock soundtrack
THE NUMBERS: The mop-topped siblings’ new effort shot back into the Top 25 (43,000 sold, up 58%); the self-titled debut was up 94% (18,000 sold, No. 65); and the soundtrack to their Disney vehicle—which is just past the platinum mark—shot up 96% (23,000 sold, No. 53).
THE GIFTEE: The 12-year-old niece who seems excitable, but spends all of her time at family gatherings watching Disney On Demand.

5. David Archuleta
THE NUMBERS: Only off by about 300 copies in its third week on the chart (No. 19, 66,000 sold). Sure, David Cook’s self-titled album has already lapped his to-date total despite being out for seven fewer days, but c’mon, even I am starting to warm to the newest Osmond, and I could just see many a lady cooing over his just-about-to-sneeze face when they open their gifts.
THE GIFTEE: Your mom. (No, really.)

The Record Business Celebrates The Bad Kind Of Black Friday

If anyone in the music business was hoping that the one-two punch of a holiday weekend and big-name releases would magically convince people to pay for music one last time, they may want to pour themselves a stiff drink, or at least spike their morning latte: Billboard is reporting that the No. 1 album, Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak, sold 425,000-450,000 copies over the course of last week, while Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy woefully underperformed, moving between 250,000 and 260,000 copies during its first week on Best Buy’s shelves. And that’s not all: Depending on who you ask, overall music sales were down anywhere between 10% and 30% when compared with last year’s holiday weekend, although online numbers were OK. Meanwhile, a UK tabloid is claiming that bigwigs at Universal Music Group are blaming the soft landing of Chinese Democracy squarely on Axl, because he didn’t do enough press for the album. Even though it probably received more free press than any other record this year. Yeah, it couldn’t be that people currently see Guns N’ Roses as something of a novelty act, and that people who liked Appetite probably aren’t so into the new sound, and that even those people who wanted to give Axl a shot were a bit weirded out by the whole preserved-in-1999-amber feel of the final recorded product, could it?

Bosses at label Geffen are blaming unpredictable Axl for the disappointing sales after he went AWOL for two months before the release date.

Despite all the effort put into one of the most extravagant rock albums of all time, staff could not contact Axl to get him to promote his rock epic.

In fact, they failed to make contact with him from the day he delivered the final cut. …

An insider said: “Everyone knows Axl is a bit of a maverick genius and won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do.

“The label is really glad to have him back. But it is frustrating because the album would have had a much better chance of going to No1 if he had only been prepared to show his face.

“People have been trying to contact him for two months and he’s been completely AWOL.

“You would have thought after spending 15 years on an album you might do a few weeks promotion.”

Of course, this has to be taken with the usual Grain Of UK Tabloid Salt (approximate diameter: 12 inches), but you have to admit that the idea of Axl going into hiding immediately upon handing in his album, and only speaking through his lawyers when he wants to get pissy with carbonated-beverage manufacturers over their online coupons not working, doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.

Axl goes AWOL [The Sun]

First-week sales of Christina Aguilera’s Target-exclusive greatest-hits package Keeps Getting Better, which contains two new songs and two reworkings of old tracks: 73,000. Single-week sales of the title track, which also happens to be one of the two fresh entries on the album: 63,000 (it’s sold 479,000 copies to date). You have to wonder: At what point do these cash-in greatest-hits packages get to be, well, not worth the effort, even with the one-big-box-only deals? [Target]

Teenage Vampire Freaks Take A Bite Out Of AC/DC

This week’s No. 1 album: The soundtrack to the forthcoming vampire movie that I am apparently too unfeeling to understand Twilight, which sold 165,000 copies in its debut week on store shelves. The soundtrack, which features a couple of new songs by Paramore as well as tracks by Muse, Linkin Park, and Iron & Wine, was $3.99 at Amazon’s MP3 store for one day last week, which no doubt contributed to the 48,000 digital sales it racked up. In other fire-sale news, Maroon 5′s Songs About Jane–which was priced under $5 at the iTunes Store last week–moved 14,000 digital copies last week, placing it at No. 3 for the week on the online-only chart, just behind Hinder’s Take It To The Limit. See? Variable pricing can move records! Sort of. This week’s full top 20 (and digital-albums top 10) after the jump.



Top 20 Albums (sales totals in parentheses)
1. Twilight soundtrack (165,000)
2. AC/DC, Black Ice (160,000)
3. High School Musical 3: Senior Year soundtrack (110,000)
4. Hinder, Take It To The Limit (81,000)
5. Pink, Funhouse (73,000)
6. John Legend, Evolver (72,000)
7. T.I., Paper Trail (69,000)
8. Andrea Bocelli, Incanto (62,000)
9. Brad Paisley, Play (54,000)
10. Rascal Flatts, Vol. 1–Greatest Hits (39,000)
11. Q-Tip, The Renaissance (34,000)
12. Metallica, Death Magnetic (33,000)
13. Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me A Bad Guy (32,000)
14. Kid Rock, Rock N’ Roll Jesus (30,000)
15. Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun (29,000)
16. Jennifer Hudson (26,000)
17. Celine Dion, My Love: Essential Collection (26,000)
18. Ne-Yo, Year Of The Gentleman (25,000)
19. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (24,000)
20. Yo-Yo Ma, Songs Of Joy And Peace (22,000)

Top 10 Digital Albums (sales totals in parentheses)
1. Twilight soundtrack (48,000)
2. Hinder, Take It To The Limit (14,000)
3. Maroon 5, Songs About Jane (14,000)
4. High School Musical 3: Senior Year soundtrack (12,000)
5. Q-Tip, The Renaissance (11,000)
6. Pink, Funhouse (11,000)
7. John Legend, Evolver (9,600)
8. Brad Paisley, Play (9,300)
9. T.I., Paper Trail (5,900)
10. Snow Patrol, A Hundred Million Suns (5,700)

Kenny Chesney Moves Down To A Deluxe Apartment

This week’s No. 1 album is Kenny Chesney’s bummed-out Lucky Old Sun, which sold 176,000 copies in its first week on shelves–not a bad number by current standards, although slightly off from his 387,000-copy first week total of last fall’s Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates. But as it turns out, the official release date for the album was yesterday, at least, if you’re going by the day on which the plain old, bell-and-whistle-free version of Sun hit stores. It’s a tactic that Sugarland employed earlier this year for the release of Love On The Inside, and to great effect: It came thisclose to outselling Miley Cyrus’ Breakout in its first week. But in these hard times, will people wait for the plain old edition to hit the shops, and cause Chesney to be the rare recipient of a second-week uptick in sales–if they buy it at all?



A look at how the two albums differ:

• The single-disc version of Lucky Old Sun has 11 tracks on it, including duets with Dave Matthews and Willie Nelson.
• The double-disc version has that 11-track CD as Disc 1; Disc 2 has four live tracks, two videos (one is of the video introduction to his tour), and “a chance to be one of two lucky winners of the ‘Kick it Off with Kenny’ contest, in which the winners will be flown to the opening of Kenny’s 2009 tour (date/location are pending).”

On Amazon, the price differential between these two editions is $2 ($9.99/$11.99); at Wal-Mart, it’s $2.16 ($9.72 / $11.88); on iTunes, it’s $4 ($9.99/$13.99). Could two or four dollars separate an impulse buy from something that’s worth an extra week’s wait? First-day projections haven’t come out yet, but I’m very interested to see if the economy has resulted in “deluxe editions” not being as sales-padding as they’ve been in the past–even if they beat the albums they’re blowing out to the marketplace.

Not that these sales will prevent Chesney from being pushed aside next week–AC/DC is apparently on track to sell 800,000-plus copies of the Wal-Mart-only Black Ice. But maybe people will throw Sun in their carts alongside it?

The 27 Albums On This Week’s Billboard 200 That Didn’t Experience A Week-To-Week Sales Drop

While reading over this week’s SoundScan, I noticed–among the thicket of debuts that included Disney’s “new Miley Cyrus” Demi Lovato, Kings Of Leon, TV On The Radio (No. 12!), and the Pussycat Dolls (who just managed to squeak into the top five)–that not many full-lengths that had been out for a while were gaining in sales from the previous week. The No. 1 album, Metallica’s Death Magnetic, held on despite a 61% drop from the previous sales week, while Ne-Yo’s Year Of The Gentleman only dropped from No. 2 to No. 3 on a 67% loss. And the numbers didn’t get much prettier from there. In fact, the first album on the chart to experience a week-to-week gain was all the way down at No. 46: M.I.A.’s Kala, which had a modest-in-any-other-week 6% bump. So I decided to figure out just how many non-debuting albums gained momentum during a week that was marked by a lot of chaos on the financial front, and a 6.8% week-to-week decline in overall sales, not to mention a 28.8% year-over-year drop. Those albums–which constitute a mere 13.5% of the chart–are listed, with their big-board placements and overall sales, after the jump.



1. M.I.A., Kala (No. 46; sold 11,000 copies, up 6%)
2. Los Pikadientes de Caborca, Vámonos Pa’l Río (No. 52; sold 9,800 copes, up 144%)
3. V/A, Sex And The City soundtrack (No. 53; sold 9,300 copies, up 305%)
4. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular (No. 60; sold 8,200 copies, up 24%)
5. Hollywood Undead, Swan Songs (No. 72; sold 7,000 copies, up 4%)
6. Shinedown, Sound Of Madness (No. 73; sold 7,000 copies, up 3%)
7. V/A, Idolos de Mexico Para el Mundo (No. 77; sold 6,600 copies, up 9%)
8. Rehab, Graffiti The World (No. 90; sold 5,800 copies, no change from last week)
9. Flobots, Fight With Tools (No. 92; sold 5,700 copies, up 4%)
10. Apocalyptica, Worlds Collide (No. 132; sold 4,500 copies, up 5%)
11. Ting Tings, We Started Nothing (No. 138; sold 4,300 copies, up 6%)
12. Danity Kane, Welcome To The Dollhouse (No. 139; sold 4,300 copies, up 22%)
13. Offspring, Rise & Fall, Rage & Grace (No. 142; sold 4,200 copies, up 2%)
14. Enrique Iglesias, 95/08 Exitos (No. 145; sold 4,100 copies, slight uptick from last week)
15. Fleet Foxes (No. 163; sold 3,500 copies, up 6% )
16. Vampire Weekend (No. 164; sold 3,500 copies, up 3%)
17. Across The Universe soundtrack (No. 167; sold 3,500 copies, up 20%)
18. Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (No. 168; sold 3,500 copies, up 18%)
19. Radiohead, In Rainbows (No. 175; sold 3,400 copies, up 5%)
20. Santogold (No. 176; sold 3,300 copies, up 43%)
21. Sigur Ros, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (No. 184; sold 3,200 copies, up 28%)
22. Casting Crowns, The Altar & The Door (No. 185; sold 3,100 copies, up 11%)
23. Marco Antonio Solis, La Mejor Coleccion (No. 186; sold 3,100 copies, slight uptick)
24. V/A, Another Cinderella Story soudntrack (No. 190; sold 3,100 copies, up 27%)
25. Jesse McCartney, Departure (No. 193; sold 3,000 copies, up 5%)
26. Jim Brickman, Unspoken (No. 198; sold 2,900 copies, up 112%)
27. Ra, Black Sun (No. 199; sold 2,900 copies, up 93%)

And that’s it. Sadly, the album at No. 200–Ashanti’s The Declaration–didn’t join in the “ending things on a high note” party. (Note: This week also had 24 chart debuts.)

So what have we learned, as far as “ways to increase sales” go? Well, apparently being in a band that’s covered by our “Corporate Rock Still Sells” column helps–many of the albums above are by artists whose albums are firmly in the rock-radio camp–Rehab, Flobots, Offspring, Vampire Weekend. The Santogold uptick was likely helped in part by various ads featuring her songs getting a lot of airplay during NFL games. The Sex & The City push seems to be helped in part by the release of a (sigh) sequel to the soundtrack, which sold about 2,000 more copies than its predecessor and landed at No. 45. And as for Enrique Iglesias… who knows.

But mostly the lesson seems to be “start small, and let things build from there.” There isn’t one “blockbuster” album on the above list unless you count the Danity Kane album, which at this point is its own, hair-extension-covered, MTV-synergy-powered exception that proves the rule. Sure, things might bounce back overall for the music market next week–even if the stock market crashes, the new T.I. album is out!–but the suits at all labels, after looking at the above numbers, might want to cut back on their self-satisfied smiling for a bit.