Chart Watch

Week Ending Aug. 8, 2008: Taylor Swift Returns

Chart Watch

Taylor Swift's "Mine," the first hit from her upcoming album Speak Now, enters Hot Digital Songs at #1. It sold 297,000 copies in its first four full days of release. That's the third biggest one-week sales total ever by a country/pop hit. Swift has both of the top two. "Love Story" sold 360,000 copies during Christmas week in 2008. "Today Was A Fairytale" sold 325,000 copies when it debuted in January.

Swift has sold more than 28 million song downloads. Ten of her hits have sold more than 1 million digital copies each. That's more, by far, than any other country (or country/pop crossover) artist. Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts have each had four million-selling digital hits. The Zac Brown Band has had three. Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Jason Aldean and Brad Paisley have each had two.

Speak Now hits retail on Oct. 25. There has already been speculation about whether the album can sell 1 million copies in its first week. (The consensus: It will be tough, but if anyone can do it, it's Swift.)

Pop Quiz: What was the last album to sell 1 million copies in its first week? Bonus question: What is the only country album to sell 1 million copies in its first week? Answers below.

Swift's debut album Taylor Swift debuted at #19 in October 2006 with first-week sales of 39,000. Fearless debuted at #1 in November 2008 with first-week sales of 592,000.

"Mine" is Swift's second song to top the Hot Digital Songs chart, following "Today Was A Fairytale." That song, from the rom-com Valentine's Day, interrupted Ke$ha's run at #1 with "TiK ToK."

Here, for all you Swift fans, are her 10 songs that have sold 1 million or more digital copies. I show their sales tallies as of this week, as calculated by the expert tabulators at Nielsen/SoundScan.  "Love Story" (4,664,000), "You Belong With Me" (3,367,000), "Our Song" (2,648,000), "Teardrops On My Guitar" (2,504,000), "White Horse" (1,497,000), "Tim McGraw" (1,266,000), "Picture To Burn" (1,265,000), "Today Was A Fairytale" (1,218,000), "Should've Said No" (1,143,000) and "Fifteen" (1,031,000).

Quiz Answers: The last album to sell 1 million copies in its first week was Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, which sold 1,006,000 copies in June 2008. The only country album to sell 1 million copies in its first week is Garth Brooks' Double Live, which sold 1,085,000 in November 1998.

Arcade Fire's The Suburbs debuts at #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. this week. It's the first album by a rock band to hit #1 in both countries since Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown, which rang the bell (or should I say bells?) in May 2009. The Suburbs is Arcade Fire's first #1 album in both countries. Its previous album, 2007's Neon Bible, peaked at #2 on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Suburbs sold 156,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week, which is by far the group's best sales week to date. Neon Bible had first-week sales of 92,000 copies. The Suburbs, which has been getting glowing reviews, is starting to look like a Grammy contender for Album of the Year. It's a cinch to become Arcade Fire's best-selling album. The band's 2005 debut, Funeral, has sold 510,000 copies (and re-enters The Billboard 200 this week at #175). Neon Bible has sold 443,000.

This week's tally for The Suburbs includes 97,000 digital copies, which makes it #1 on the Digital Albums chart. It's no great mystery why it sold so well digitally: Amazon's MP3 store had a week-long sale on the album for $3.99. Digital sales accounted for 62% of the album's first week sales, the highest digital percentage for a #1 album since Glee: The Music: Journey To Regionals in June. Digital accounted for 69% of that EP's first-week sales.

The Suburbs is the third independently-distributed album to hit #1 in the U.S. so far this year. It follows Vampire Weekend's Contra and the Various Artists collection Hope For Haiti Now. (One sign that Arcade Fire is on an indie label: There's a quarter-page ad for The Suburbs in the new issue of Billboard. Major labels routinely take out full-page ads on such key releases, but for tiny Merge Records, this was a big expense.)

Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 this week becomes the first album by a male solo teen star to log 20 weeks in the top 10 on The Billboard 200. Ricky Nelson's Ricky logged 18 weeks in the top 10 in 1957-1958.

Bobby Brown's Don't Be Cruel logged 45 weeks in the top 10 in 1988-1989, but he was a teenager for only the first 16 of those weeks. (He turned 20 on Feb. 5, 1989.)

Other albums by male solo teen stars that have logged 10 or more weeks in the top 10 include Bieber's My World EP (13 weeks in 2009-2010), LL Cool J's Bigger And Deffer (13 weeks in 1987), Paul Anka's Paul Anka Sings His Big 15 (12 weeks in 1960), Shaun Cassidy's eponymous debut album (11 weeks in 1977), Fabian's Fabulous Fabian (10 weeks in 1960), Usher's My Way (10 weeks in 1998) and Chris Brown's Exclusive (10 weeks in 2007-2008).

Bieber will soon be climbing best-seller charts of a different kind. His first book, Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever, hits bookstores in October.

Rap accounts for three of this week's top five albums. Eminem's Recovery holds at #2, Bun B's Trill O.G. debuts at #4 and Rick Ross' Teflon Don drops to #5. As the title implies, Trill O.G. is the third album in the Trill series, following Trill and II Trill. Bun B has now had more top 10 albums on his own than he did as half of UGK. That rap duo had two top 10 albums, one before the death in December 2007 of Bun B's musical partner, Pimp C, and one after.

Lady Gaga lands her third top 10 album as The Remix enters The Billboard 200 at #6.  The Fame has spent 50 weeks in the top 10. The Fame Monster EP spent four. Billboard's Keith Caulfield reports that this is the first remix album to reach the top 10 since Hannah Montana 2: Non-Stop Dance Party debuted and peaked at #7 in February 2008. I expected the new album to debut higher, but I guess fans have these songs already. They're pretty much ready for The Follow-up.

Here's the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. Taylor Swift's "Mine" debuts at #1 (297K). Eminem featuring Rihanna's "Love The Way You Lie" dips from #1 to #2 (281K). Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" dips from #2 to #3 (227K). Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull's "I Like It" dips from #3 to #4 (183K). Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" dips from #4 to #5 (147K). Usher featuring Pitbull's "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" jumps from #7 to #6 (142K). Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg's "California Gurls" drops from #5 to #7 (141K). Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me" holds at #8 for the second week (121K). B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams' "Airplanes" drops from #6 to #9 (117K). Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo" dips from #9 to #10 (115K).

"Magic" by B.o.B featuring Rivers Cuomo jumps from #14 to #11 on Hot Digital Songs. That's three hits in a row for B.o.B, two of which have allowed group members to step out on their own. This is Cuomo's first hit apart from Weezer. "Airplanes" was Hayley Williams' first hit apart from Paramore. I'm impressed that B.o.B's three singles (the first was "Nothin' On You" featuring Bruno Mars) are all so different from each other. The "ah-oohs" on "Magic" remind me of Warren Zevon's 1978 hit "Werewolves Of London."

Shameless Plug: If you missed my Chart Watch Extra in which I recounted 40 key milestones in Elton John's 40-year career, here's a link. I had a lot of fun putting it together. You know all those crazy costumes Lady Gaga wears? I think we can see where she gets it.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

1. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs, 156,000. This new entry is the band's first #1 album. "The Suburbs" debuts at #162 on Hot Digital Songs. (What a beautiful album cover. Grammy voters, take note.)

2. Eminem, Recovery, 152,000. The former #1 album holds at #2 for the second week. Look for it to return to #1 next week. Seven songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), which dips from #1 to #2.

3. Avenged Sevenfold, Nightmare, 45,000. The former #1 album drops to #3 in its second week. "Nightmare" drops from #65 to #106 on Hot Digital Songs.

4. Bun B, Trill O.G., 41,000. This new entry is the rapper's fifth top 10 album; his third as a solo artist.

5. Rick Ross, Teflon Don, 39,000. The album drops from #3 to #6 in its third week. "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" (featuring Styles P) drops from #89 to #107 on Hot Digital Songs.

6. Lady Gaga, The Remix, 39,000. This new entry is Gaga's third top 10 album. Eight of the 10 songs on the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Alejandro," which dips from #27 to #29.

7. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0., 37,000. The former #1 album drops from #4 to #7 in its 20th week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Somebody To Love," which drops from #38 to #58.

8. Drake, Thank Me Later, 31,000. The former #1 album drops from #5 to #8 in its eighth week. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Find Your Love," which drops from #19 to #28.

9. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 29,000. The former #1 album drops from #7 to #9 in its 28th week. This is its 26th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Need You Now," which dips from #52 to #55.

10. Buckcherry, All Night Long, 28,000. This new entry is the band's second top 10 album. Black Butterfly hit #8 in September 2008. "All Night Long" enters Hot Digital Songs at #179.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Kidz Bop Kids' Kidz Bop 18 drops from #6 to #11, Sheryl Crow's 100 Miles From Memphis drops from #8 to #16, Lady Gaga's The Fame drops from #9 to #12 and NOW 34 drops from #10 to #14.

The Black Crowes' Croweology, a double-disk acoustic album, bows at #13. It's the band's veteran eighth top 20 album; its third since early 2008.

Jonas Brothers' soundtrack to their Disney Channel TV series Jonas L.A. is the top soundtrack for the third straight week. It dips from #15 to #19 on The Billboard 200. The week's top soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie is Step Up 3D, which leaps from #80 to #36. The soundtracks to the first two movies in the Step Up series both made the top 10 on The Billboard 200. Step Up hit #6 in August 2006. Step Up 2 The Streets hit #5 in February 2008. This third installment needs to "step up" the pace if it's going to keep the string intact.

The Other Guys was #1 at the box-office over the weekend, but there is no soundtrack album.

Journey's Greatest Hits is #1 on the Catalog Albums chart for the second straight week (and the seventh week overall). The album was originally released in 1988. It sold 5,000 copies this week and dips from #81 to #82 on The Billboard 200.

"Love The Way You Lie" by Eminem featuring Rihanna tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's Em's second 2 million seller from Recovery. "Not Afraid" has sold 2,210,000 copies. Recovery is the first Eminem album to spawn one 2 million seller, much less two. Em's only previous 2-million seller (as a lead artist) was "Lose Yourself," which came from the multi-artist 8 Mile soundtrack. That Oscar-winning song is up to 2,887,000 in paid downloads.

The charming and witty "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads. It's Mars' second 2 million seller, following B.o.B's "Nothin' On You," on which he is featured. It's McCoy's first 2 million seller. "Cupid's Chokehold," his biggest hit with Gym Class Heroes, has sold 1,871,000 copies. That 2007 hit featured Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy.

"All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross tops the 1 million mark in paid downloads this week.

Fans in the U.S. and the U.K. are in agreement on Arcade Fire, but we are far apart on Ne-Yo's "Beautiful Monster." The song apparently peaked on the Hot 100 two weeks ago at #53, but it debuts at #1 in the U.K. this week. It's Ne-Yo's third British #1, following "So Sick" and "Closer."

Heads Up: The Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam TV soundtrack is expected to debut in the top 10 next week. The first Camp Rock soundtrack logged 10 weeks in the top 10 in the summer of 2008, when the Jonas Brothers were at their peak. Three other albums appear to be headed for top 10 bows next week: Black Label Society's Order Of The Black, Mike Posner's debut album 31 Minutes To Takeoff and Blake Shelton's EP All About Tonight. Also in the mix: the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

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