For the second week in a row, an album has broken the record for the slimmest sales tally by an album at #1 in the Nielsen SoundScan era. Cake's Showroom Of Compassion tops The Billboard 200 with sales of just 44,000 copies. Last week, Taylor Swift's Speak Now earned the unwelcome distinction with sales of 52,000.
Here's a sign of how bad the current album market is. Each of Cake's last two albums sold more copies in their opening week than Showroom just did, even though they debuted considerably lower on the chart. Pressure Chief sold 46K when it debuted at #17 in 2004. Comfort Eagle sold 72K when it debuted at #13 in 2001.
In fact, Showroom sold just 100 or so more copies in its first week than the band's 1998 album Prolonging The Magic did when it debuted at #33. (Pressure Chief and Prolonging The Magic both came out in October, when sales are brisker than they are in January, but still...)
You might well ask: If an album can sell just 44K and finish #1, what does it mean? Keep inRead More »from Week Ending Jan. 16, 2011: Albums: Even Lower