Rihanna is also the only artist with eight songs on Nielsen/SoundScan's running, all-time list of the top 200 songs with the most paid downloads. Fergie, Nickelback and Chris Brown are tied for second place with five each.
Rihanna is listed on that chart with "Umbrella," "Don't Stop The Music," "SOS," "Take A Bow," "Pon De Replay," "Shut Up And Drive," "Unfaithful," and "Hate That I Love You" (featuring Ne-Yo). These eight hits have sold a combined total of 13,155,000 downloads. Fergie's five hits, all from The Dutchess, have sold a combined total of 11,830,000 downloads.
One reason for Rihanna's success is her adaptability. She can move from a sexy R&B smash like "Umbrella" to a creamy pop confection like "Hate That I Love You"; from a striking and soulful kiss-off like "Take A Bow" to the hard-charging dance/pop of "Disturbia."
We've all become accustomed to hit albums being re-released with bonus tracks, putting pressure on the act's biggest fans to buy the album again to get the new material. We've seen it, most recently, with Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad and its "Reloaded" edition. Sugarland took the opposite approach. The duo released a "Deluxe Fan Edition" of its new album last week and followed it this week with the regular version. (The special edition included five extra songs, an expanded booklet and access to download an exclusive music video and "behind-the-scenes" footage. It was priced $2-$3 more than the regular version.)
Did the strategy work? You might say so. Love On The Inside debuted at #2 last week and this week moves up to the top spot. With the striking success of this experiment, expect to see more albums released with a pricier expanded edition issued first, followed a week later by the no-frills regular album.
Billboard's Geoff Mayfield thinks highly of the Sugarland model. Writing in his Over The Counter column this week, he observed, "Applause to the act and to Universal Music Nashville for putting the extra content out front, instead of releasing the enhanced package months after thousands of fans already purchased the standard offering."
Mayfield also noted that this isn't the first time that a deluxe edition of an album has preceded the regular edition by a week. U2 did this twice, albeit with retrospectives, not a new studio album. In November 1998, the band released a two-CD set, The Best Of 1980-1990/The B-Sides and followed it one week later with the basic, single-disk The Best Of 1980-1990. Four years later, the band did the same thing, releasing the two-CD set The Best Of 1990-2000 & B-Sides one week before issuing the single-disk The Best Of 1990-2000.
Love On The Inside switches places with Miley Cyrus' Break Out. It's the first time that two albums have debuted in the top two positions one week and exchanged positions the following week since Tim McGraw's Let It Go and the NOW 24 compilation flip-flopped in April 2007. There, the country album got off to a faster start and was overtaken in week two by a pop-minded collection-the opposite of what happened this time.
Brooks & Dunn's 2005 album Hillbilly Deluxe had held the record for highest-charting album by a country duo. It peaked at #3. Two other country duos, Big & Rich and Montgomery Gentry, have had top 10 albums in recent years. Van Zant climbed as high as #21 in 2005. Country duos from the era before Nielsen/SoundScan began monitoring U.S. album sales in 1991 were underrepresented on the pop album chart. Even as popular a country duo as The Judds never climbed above #51. The Bellamy Brothers, who had a #1 pop single in 1976 with "Let Your Love Flow," topped out at #69 on the album chart.
Double Platinum: Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III this week becomes the first album to top the 2 million threshold in 2008 sales activity. This is the 31st week of the year, a little late in the year to see the first album hitting the 2 million mark. But at least it's better than last year, when we were 38 weeks into the year before Daughtry's eponymous debut album finally became the first album to top the 2 million mark in 2007 sales. A little ray of good news for the beleaguered music industry!
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
Two albums drop out of the top 10 this week. NOW 28 dips from #9 to #11. Taylor Swift's Beautiful Eyes EP, a Wal-Mart exclusive, drops from #10 to #16.
Scars On Broadway's Scars On Broadway opens at #17. It's the second side project by members of System of a Down to reach the top 20. Scars On Broadway features two System members-guitarist Daron Malakian and drummer John Dolmayan. Serj Tankian, System's lead singer, opened at #4 in October with his solo debut, Elect The Dead. System landed three #1 albums from 2001 to 2005.
Alice Cooper's Along Came A Spider opens at #53. It's his best showing since Hey Stoopid in 1991. Slash and Ozzy Osbourne appear on the album. Cooper had five straight top 10 albums from 1972-1975. Like Elton John, David Bowie, and KISS, he emphasized theatricality in a T-shirt and jeans era in pop music.
ABBA's Gold-Greatest Hits holds at #1 on the Catalog Album chart for the third straight week. It sold 24,000 copies this week and would have ranked #17 on the big chart if older, catalog albums could compete there. Two ABBA classics are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Dancing Queen" at #106.
Ups & Downs: M.I.A.'s Kala jumps from #151 to #62, with an 88% increase in sales-a bigger increase than any other non-debuting album in the top 200. On the down side, Candlebox's Into The Sun falls from #32 to #127 and U2's digital-only Live From Paris: Hippodrome De Vincennes, Pairs, 4th July, 1987 tumbles from #54 to #168. Sales of both albums declined by 64%, the biggest percentage drop in the top 200.
Heads Up: Lloyd and Hawthorne Heights made the top three with their last albums. Does either have a shot at #1 this time? We'll find out next week. Lloyd's Lessons In Love is his follow-up to Street Love, which debuted at #2 in March 2007. Hawthorne Heights' Fragile Future is the band's follow-up to If Only You Were Lonely, which bowed at #3 in March 2006. Also due: Randy Newman's Harps And Angels, Trapt's Only Through The Pain and the standard edition of Conor Oberst's eponymous set.