U2, it seemed, was everywhere last week hawking its new album, No Line On The Horizon. All that work pays off as the album enters the Billboard 200 at #1, with first-week sales of 484,000. This is the biggest weekly sales tally so far in 2009. It's more than twice that of the previous record-holder for the year, Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream, which opened with sales of 224,000 five weeks ago. In fact, U2 sold more copies in one week than Springsteen has sold in his entire six-week run (459,000). After just one week, No Line is #3 for the year-to-date, trailing a couple of 2008 holdovers, Taylor Swift's Fearless and Beyonce's I Am...Sasha Fierce. No Line registered the biggest weekly sales total in the first quarter, when sales are usually slow, since 2005, when 50 Cent's The Massacre sold 1,912,000 copies in its first two weeks. Here's my most amazing stat: The sales tally for No Line On The Horizon is greater than those of the next 17 albums on this week's chart, combined.Read More »from Week Ending March 8, 2009: U2′s Hustle Pays Off
Slumdog Millionaire this week joins a very exclusive club. It becomes only the 16th movie to both win an Academy Award for Best Picture and generate a top 10 soundtrack album. The Oscar, especially the coveted prize for Best Picture, is one of the most universally recognized marks of success in entertainment. So is the Billboard 200 album chart, especially the much-reprinted top 10. It's not easy to come out on top in either of these worlds. To triumph in both of them is so hard that it has happened just 16 times in the 64 years since Billboard introduced its album chart.
The list of films that have won the Oscar for Best Picture and spawned a top 10 soundtrack includes both "little movies" such as Rocky and Chariots Of Fire and big, screen-filling epics such as Titanic and Lawrence Of Arabia. It includes six musicals (most recently, Chicago) and one movie filled with iconic oldies (Forrest Gump). Four of the soundtracks (Titanic, Chariots Of Fire, Rocky and Going My Way) spun off #1Read More »from Chart Watch Extra: Slumdog Joins Exclusive Club
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Mar 4, 2009 9:02 AM EST
Jonas Brothers have this week's #2 movie and #3 album. There are worse fates for an act that was largely unknown two years ago, but the brothers' management team and the Disney empire can't be thrilled about the numbers behind the numbers. Music From The 3D Concert Experience enters the Billboard 200 at #3. It sold 50,000 copies in its first week, less than one-tenth of what the brothers' last album, A Little Bit Longer, sold (525,000) when it debuted at #1 in August. It didn't even match what Jonas Brothers sold (69,000) in its first week in August 2007, when the brothers were just stepping up to stardom. The movie grossed $12.5 million, less than half of what Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana's Best Of Both Worlds Concert movie grossed ($31.1 million) in its opening weekend a year ago. And JoBros' movie was in far more theaters (1,271) than Cyrus' (683). The math whizzes at Boxofficemojo.com crunched the numbers and found that the per-theater average was $9,843 for JoBros' movie and $45,561Read More »from Week Ending March 1, 2009: They’re Not Exactly “Burnin’ Up”
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Feb 25, 2009 8:58 AM EST
Flo Rida's "Right Round" tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads in just its second week of release, which makes it the fastest million-selling download ever. This shaves three weeks off the old record, which was set in November by "Live Your Life" by T.I. featuring Rihanna. "Right Round" debuted last week with sales of 636,000 downloads, by far the biggest one-week total ever. This week, it sold 460,000 downloads, the third highest one-week total ever. In second place: Flo Rida's previous smash "Low" (featuring T-Pain), which sold 467,000 downloads during Christmas week 2007. Flo Rida doesn't get one-tenth of the mainstream media exposure of Kanye West or even Lil Wayne, but based on these numbers, I'd say he deserves to have a higher media profile.
The record for fastest-selling download has been broken several times in the past year. "Love In This Club" by Usher featuring Young Jeezy set a record when it topped the 1 million mark in its seventh week in April. It was broken twoRead More »from Week Ending Feb. 22, 2009: The Fastest Million-Selling Download Ever
We will soon learn the identity of the 75th winner of the Oscar for Best Original Song. It will either be from Slumdog Millionaire, which has two tunes in the running ("O Saya" and the joyous finale "Jai Ho"), or WALL-E, which has one ("Down To Earth," co-written by Peter Gabriel). If you haven't seen the movies, there's a good chance you haven't heard these songs. None of them has appeared on Billboard's Hot 100. But that's the way things have been going in this category in recent years. Six of the last eight Best Song winners failed to crack the chart. The only Best Song winners in the 2000s that have charted are Eminem's monster hit "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile and "Falling Slowly" from Once, which reached a middling #61 last year. It wasn't always like this. Thirty-one of the first 54 Best Song winners reached #1. But in the past 20 years, only three winners have topped the chart: "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)," "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)" and "LoseRead More »from Chart Watch Extra: Oscar Best Song Highs & Lows
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Feb 18, 2009 9:53 AM EST
Three of the biggest winners from last week's Grammy Awards surge into the top 10 on The Billboard 200, but the #1 spot goes to an artist who wasn't even nominated this year. Taylor Swift, who performed on the telecast with fellow non-nominee Miley Cyrus, returns to #1 with Fearless. This is the second year in a row that Swift was passed over for a nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, despite a long string of eligible hits over these two years including "Teardrops On My Guitar," "Our Song" and "Love Story." Last year, she was nominated for Best New Artist, but lost to Amy Winehouse. Though Swift hasn't gotten much Grammy love, she is receiving strong fan support. This is the ninth week on top for Fearless, which puts it in a tie with Santana's Supernatural and Usher's 2004 smash Confessions as the longest-running #1 album of the 2000s. (Supernatural had three additional weeks on top in 1999.)
The Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration Raising Sand vaults from #69 toRead More »from Week Ending Feb. 15, 2009: Taylor Swift Gets Last Laugh
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Feb 11, 2009 9:23 AM EST
Eminem is back in a big way. "Crack A Bottle," his new collaboration with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, sold 418,000 downloads this week. That's the third fattest weekly tally ever, and the biggest total outside of Christmas week (when fans are feverishly redeeming gift cards). "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T Pain sold 467,000 downloads during Christmas week in 2007. "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa featuring Colby O'Donis sold 419,000 this past Christmas. "Crack A Bottle" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1 and surges from #78 to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100. It's Eminem's second #1 hit on the Hot 100, following the Oscar-winning "Lose Yourself," which logged 12 weeks on top in 2002-2003. It's also Dr. Dre's second #1, following Blackstreet's 1996 hit "No Diggity," on which he was featured. It's 50 Cent's fourth, following "In Da Club," "21 Questions" (with Nate Dogg) and "Candy Shop (with Olivia). All three artists have upcoming albums. Eminem's album, Relapse, will be his first studio release since EncoreRead More »from Week Ending Feb. 8, 2009: Shady’s Back (Tell A Friend)
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Feb 4, 2009 8:21 AM EST
Bruce Springsteen's Working On A Dream enters The Billboard 200 at #1. It's the New Jersey native's ninth #1 album, which puts him in the all-time top five on the list of artists with most #1 albums. The Beatles lead the pack with 19 chart-toppers, followed by Elvis Presley and Jay-Z, with 10 each, and the Rolling Stones and Springsteen, with nine each. Except for Jay-Z, Springsteen is the most recent arrival on this list. He released his first album, Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., in January 1973.
Working On A Dream, which opened with sales of 224,000 copies, is Springsteen's fifth album to debut at #1. Three of the other four started with fatter first-week totals. The Rising bowed with sales of 525,000; Magic with 335,000; and Greatest Hits with 251,000. Of these five albums, only Devils & Dust had a slower first week. It started with 222,000.Read More »from Week Ending Feb. 1, 2009: That’s Why They Call Him The Boss
Next Tuesday (Feb. 3) marks the 50th anniversary of the most famous plane crash in rock'n'roll history, an accident that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Don McLean famously referred to it as "the day the music died" in his 1971 epic, "American Pie." Holly, who was just 22 when he died, holds a unique distinction: He had the shortest lifespan of any artist who has received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
A surprising number of artists whose lives were cut tragically short have been voted Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Recording Academy. Twenty-two solo artists who died before their 50th birthdays have received the honor. This is remarkable because it's obviously harder to leave a significant legacy if you're denied the luxury of time. But few would argue that these artists did just that.
Drug and/or alcohol abuse played a role in many of these deaths. Given how much performers travel, it's not surprising that four of the 22 artists (Holly, OtisRead More »from Chart Watch Extra: 22 Days The Music Died
- Paul Grein | Chart Watch – Wed, Jan 28, 2009 9:22 AM EST
Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" vaults from #97 to #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 this week. That sets a new record for the biggest leap into the top spot in the chart's 50-year history. The old record was held by Britney Spears' "Womanizer," which shot from #96 to #1 in October. Clarkson's song also enters the Hot Digital Songs chart at #1, after selling 280,000 downloads in its first week.
"My Life Would Suck Without You," the lead single from Clarkson's upcoming fourth album All I Ever Wanted, is her second #1 on the Hot 100. "A Moment Like This," her American Idol victory song, shot from #52 to #1 in October 2002. (At the time, that was the biggest leap into the top spot in Hot 100 history.) "Suck" is Clarkson's first #1 on Hot Digital Songs. Her 2004 smash "Since U Been Gone" just missed the top spot, though it has sold more than 2 million cumulative downloads.
(Incidentally, Clarkson's use of the word "suck" in the title is cheeky, but not unprecedented. The RollingRead More »from Week Ending Jan. 25, 2009: Setting A Hot 100 Record
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