Right about now, Brad Paisley is probably wondering what he has to do to land a #1 album. His new Wheelhouse enters The Billboard 200 at #2 (behind Paramore’s new album). Unless it moves up to #1 in a subsequent week, which rarely happens, it will be his fourth album to peak at #2, following Time Well Wasted, American Saturday Night and This Is Country Music. Only one other artist in chart history has had as many as four #2 albums without reaching #1. Sheryl Crow reached the runner-up spot with four consecutive releases from 2002 through 2008: C’mon, C’mon, The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow, Wildflowers and Detours.Read More »from Week Ending April 14, 2013. Albums: Keeping Brad Paisley Humble
Blog Posts by Paul Grein
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 17, 2013 11:12 AM EDT
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 10, 2013 3:57 PM EDT
Here’s an irony for you: A price reduction to 69 cents enabled Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” to bump “Thrift Shop”—a song about hunting for 99-cent bargains—out of the #1 spot on the Hot 100. Mars’ song was discounted to that price in both the iTunes and Amazon MP3 stores, which put it far below the standard $1.29 price of most current hits. This was a shameless (and effective) bid to give Mars’ hit the final push it needed to reach #1. The song sold 340K copies during the week, which represents a 45% gain over the previous week. “Thrift Shop,” which is the only song in digital history to top 300K in weekly sales nine times, sold 211K during the week, a 25% drop from the previous week.
“When I Was Your Man” is Mars’ fifth #1 on the Hot 100. Mars has amassed his first five #1 hits faster than any male solo artist since Elvis Presley. Mars first charted on Feb. 13, 2010 as the featured artist on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ On You.” Thus, he has piled up five #1 hits in three years and two months. Presley amassed his first five #1 hits in less than a year (March 3, 1956 to Feb. 9, 1957, when “Too Much” bumped Guy Mitchell’s “Singing The Blues” out of the top spot).
Only two other artists have amassed five or more #1 hits since January 2010. Rihanna leads with seven in this young decade. Katy Perry has had six. Among male solo artists, Mars is way out front. Eminem is in second place with two #1 hits since January 2010.
(Wanna know who else has had two or more #1 hits in this decade? Adele has had three. Ke$ha, LMFAO and Maroon 5 have each had two.)Read More »from Week Ending April 7, 2013. Songs: Discount Helps Bruno Reach #1
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 10, 2013 11:00 AM EDT
Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience sold 139K copies last week, bringing its three-week total to 1,426,000. It’s the first album by a male pop vocalist to get off to such a fast start since Ricky Martin’s English-language debut album, Ricky Martin, which sold 1,519,000 copies in its first three weeks in May 1999.
While Martin had been known for years in the Latin music world, the broad pop audience discovered him on the night of Feb. 24, 1999. He sang “La Copa De La Vida (The Cup Of Life)” on the Grammy telecast and literally stole the show.
Both Timberlake and Martin started out in boy bands. Timberlake was 14 in 1995 when he co-founded *NSYNC; Martin was 13 in 1984 when he joined Menudo.
The 20/20 Experience is the first album by any artist to sell this many copies in its first three weeks since Taylor Swift’s Red, which sold 1,749,000 copies in its first three weeks last fall. It’s the first album by a male solo artist to sell this many this soon since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, which sold 1,526,000 copies in its first three weeks in June 2008.Read More »from Week Ending April 7, 2013. Albums: Timberlake Is Livin’ La Vida Loca
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 3, 2013 4:13 PM EDT
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz sold 4,178,000 copies in the first quarter of 2013. That’s more, by far, than any song has sold in the first quarter of a calendar year in digital history. The old record was set last year, when “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monae sold 2,753,000 copies in the first quarter.
“Thrift Shop” logs its sixth week at #1 on the Hot 100. That’s the longest run since Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” spent six weeks on top in December and January. It’s the longest run by an ongoing duo (not just a one-time collabo) since LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” (featuring Lauren Bennett & Goon Rock) had six weeks on top in the summer of 2011.
“Thrift Shop” tops Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the 12th week. That enables it to surpass Robin Thicke’s 2007 hit “Lost Without U” for the longest run at #1 by a white artist since the chart originated (as Harlem Hit Parade) in October 1942. (Mariah Carey, whose “We Belong Together” logged 14 weeks at #1 on the R&B chart in 2005, is biracial. Her father was of African American and Venezuelan descent. Her mother is of white Irish descent.)
Two other songs by the duo are moving up the Hot 100. “Can’t Hold Us” jumps from #27 to #15 in its eighth week. “Same Love” (featuring Mary Lambert) re-enters the chart at #93. The latter song has already climbed as high as #89.Read More »from Week Ending March 31, 2013. Songs: “Thrift Shop” Sets First Quarter Record
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Apr 3, 2013 11:05 AM EDT
The Voice has been very good for Blake Shelton. The country star’s Based On A True Story… sold 199K copies in its first week, which is more than any previous Shelton album has sold in any one week. (He achieved his previous best when Red River Blue sold 116K copies when it debuted at #1 in July 2011). Prior to the launch of The Voice in April 2011, Shelton had never sold more than 77K copies of an album in one week.
Based On A True Story enters The Billboard 200 at #3, behind Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, which holds at #1 for the second week, and Lil Wayne’s I Am Not A Human Being II, which debuts at #2. Shelton’s album enters Top Country Albums at #1. It’s Shelton’s third #1 album on the country chart. It follows the 2010 EP All About Tonight and Red River Blue.Read More »from Week Ending March 31, 2013. Albums: The Voice Lifts Blake Shelton
Fifty years ago this week, an original, audacious and gifted singer from Brooklyn entered the Billboard album chart for the first time. Barbra Streisand, who was not yet 21 when her debut album charted, was unconventional from the start, from the quirky way she altered the spelling of her first name to the defiant way she refused to alter the shape of her nose.
Those characteristics—originality, audacity and blazing talent—have made Streisand the most successful female singer of all time.
In 1963, when the year’s top three hits by female solo artists were the Singing Nun’s “Dominique,” Little Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him” and Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party,” Streisand released an ironic ballad version of the rousing 1930 smash “Happy Days Are Here Again.” The sound of the record was so elegant, so grown-up, it made those other hits seem like trifles.Read More »from Chart Watch Extra: 50 Years Of Barbra
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Mar 27, 2013 10:58 PM EDT
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz returns to #1 on the Hot 100 after logging five weeks at #2 behind Baauer’s viral phenomenon “Harlem Shake.” It’s the first song to return to #1 after such a long absence since Chubby Checker’s “The Twist,” which returned to #1 in January 1962, 16 months after it first topped the chart.
“Thrift Shop” rises to #1 even though it falls to #2 on both Hot Digital Songs (behind “Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk featuring Nate Ruess) and Hot Radio Songs (behind Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man”). How’d that happen? “Harlem Shake” fell off even more sharply. Billboard’s Gary Trust reports that “Thrift Shop” dropped by 6% in overall chart points, while “Harlem Shake” dropped by 28%.
“Thrift Shop” tops the 5 million mark in digital sales this week. The song sold 5 million copies in 30 weeks. Just three songs in digital history have reached 5M faster: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra (23 weeks), Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (24) and “We Are Young” by fun. featuring Janelle Monae (28).Read More »from Week Ending March 24, 2013. Songs: 5 Million “Thrift Shoppers”
Phillip Phillips’ “Home” this week surpasses Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” to become the best-selling song ever released by an American Idol alumnus. “Home” has sold 4,262,000 digital copies. “Stronger” has sold 4,245,000.
“Stronger” wore the Idol sales crown for about eight months. It surpassed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” on July 1, 2012. Underwood’s smash held the title for nearly five years. It surpassed Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” on Aug. 19, 2007. While those three other hits are all sassy and up-tempo, “Home” echoes the rootsy folk-pop sound of Mumford & Sons.
“Home” was Phillips’ “coronation song” on Idol in May, when he was declared the Season 11 winner. The song entered the Hot 100 at #10 in June. It then tumbled down the chart, but got its second wind after NBC featured the song during its coverage of the Summer Olympics in August. The week after the Olympics, it rebounded from #84 to #9. It finally peaked at #6 in January.
The strong showing by “Home” is especially noteworthy because Idol’s ratings have been trending down in recent years. At least 30 million viewers watched the season finale for four straight years (Seasons 4 through Season 7). Fewer than 30 million viewers have watched the season finale the last four years. According to Nielsen, 21.49 million viewers watched the season finale in May, which made it the least-watched finale in Idol history. (The most-watched finale was the Season 2 showdown between Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, which was watched by 38.06 million viewers.)Read More »from Chart Watch Extra: Phillips Takes Idol Title
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Tue, Mar 26, 2013 7:14 PM EDT
Justin Timberlake’s third solo album, The 20/20 Experience, enters The Billboard 200 at #1 with first-week sales of 968K. That’s the biggest one-week sales tally since Taylor Swift’s Red sold 1,208,000 copies in its first week in October. It’s the biggest one-week tally by a male artist since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III opened with sales of 1,006,000 in September 2008. It’s the biggest one-week tally in the first quarter of the year (when sales are generally slower) since 50 Cent’s The Massacre opened with sales of 1,141,000 in March 2005.
The 20/20 Experience also set a new record for the biggest one-week sales tally for an album by a male pop artist since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard. This stat excludes R&B (Usher), country (Garth Brooks) and rap (Eminem, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne). Who held the previous record? Try and guess. Details below.
First-week sales projections for Timberlake’s album were revised upward several times, from the initial forecast of 500K on March 11. About the only disappointment for Timberlake is that 20/20 just missed becoming the 19th album to sell 1 million copies in a week since 1991. No album has ever come so close to the magic 1M mark without quite reaching it.Read More »from Week Ending March 24, 2013. Albums: Timberlake Sets Male Pop Record
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Mar 20, 2013 6:04 PM EDT
“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz is #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the 10th straight week. It’s #1 on the all-genre Radio Songs chart for the second week. Under the old chart formula, that would make the genial hip-hop smash a virtual lock for the #1 spot on the Hot 100. But under the new formula, which gives great (and I would contend excessive) weight to YouTube streaming data, it ranks #2 for the fifth straight week, behind Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.” That viral phenomenon is #6 on Hot Digital Songs and has yet to crack the 75-song Radio Songs chart. (Given that its total radio audience shrank by 9% this week, it probably never will crack the Radio Songs chart.)
“Harlem Shake” makes up for its deficits in sales and radio airplay by holding at #1 on the Streaming Songs chart for the fifth week. But even here it is losing its mojo. Its total streams drop by 42% this week, from 48 million to 28 million. (By comparison, the streaming total for “Thrift Shop” is 9.5 million, which represents a gain of 4% compared to last week.)
The streaming total for “Harlem Shake” has been shrinking every week since it debuted, from 103 million to 98 million to 54 million to 48 million to 24 million.
Billboard’s Gary Trust reports that, in terms of overall Hot 100 points, “Harlem Shake” has a 29% lead over “Thrift Shop” this week. But that’s down from a 103% lead last week.
This tells us four things. 1. “Thrift Shop” may return to #1 on the Hot 100 next week (though it will also have to contend with Bruno Mars’ new smash). 2. Billboard should seriously consider whether it thinks “Thrift Shop” should have spent the last five weeks at #2. Maybe its run at #1 should have been interrupted for a couple of weeks, when the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon was at its peak, but this sustained shut-out seems excessive. 3. Billboard probably should have had a longer trial run period, to get the new chart mix just right. 4. It’s to Billboard’s credit that it is being so transparent about the numbers behind the numbers. It's not trying to hide anything.Read More »from Week Ending March 17, 2013. Songs: The Great Chart Robbery Of 2013
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