Chart Watch

Week Ending Jan. 17, 2010: 21 Million Lady Gaga Fans Can’t Be Wrong

Chart Watch

"Just Dance," the lead single from Lady Gaga's The Fame, tops the 5 million mark in paid downloads this week. The collaboration with Colby O'Donis is only the second song to reach the 5 million threshold, following "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain.

"Just Dance," of course, was just the beginning for Lady Gaga, who has sold nearly 18.4 million digital songs. (Those weekly tallies can really add up.) "Poker Face" is her second biggest hit, with sales of 4,642,000. "Bad Romance" is third, with sales of 2,466,000. "Lovegame" and "Paparazzi" are virtually tied for fourth place, with sales of 1,981,000 and 1,977,000, respectively. Eighteen other Gaga songs have rung up combined sales of nearly 2.3 million copies.

Lady Gaga has also sold 2,517,000 copies of her debut album, The Fame, and 637,000 copies of The Fame Monster EP. Add all these numbers together and you have more than 21.5 million units sold just in the U.S. That's not bad for someone who was a virtual unknown 18 months ago.

This week's headline is, of course, a play on the title of Elvis Presley's famous 1960 greatest hits album, Elvis' Gold Records, Volume 2 (50 Million Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong).

The Fame logs its 30th week in the top 10 on The Billboard 200. That's the longest run in the top 10 for a by a debut album since Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts spent 30 weeks in the top 10 from November 2005 to May 2007. And The Fame is still going strong. Lady Gaga appeared on Oprah for the first time on Jan. 15. And she'll be featured on Jan. 31 on the Grammys, where she is nominated for Album, Record and Song of the Year.

Vampire Weekend's sophomore album, Contra, enters The Billboard 200 at #1 with first-week sales of 124,000. That includes 74,000 digital copies, which is 60% of its total. This is the second week in a row in which the #1 album has sold more digital than physical copies. Ke$ha's Animal debuted last week with sales of 152,000 copies, more than three-quarters of them (76%) sold digitally. These are the first #1 albums in chart history that sold more digital than physical copies in the weeks they were #1.

Four other #1 albums came close, with digital sales accounting for between 40% and 45% of their sales totals while they were #1. These albums, and their digital percentages: John Mayer's Battle Studies (45%), The Fray's The Fray (44%), Colbie Caillat's Breakthrough (41%) and Coldplay's Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (40%). Note that all four of these albums were released since June 2008. I think this is what they call a growing trend.

Billboard's Keith Caulfield reports that Vampire Weekend's album is the first independently-distributed album to hit #1 since Pearl Jam's Backspacer, which debuted at #1 in October. Only 10 other independently-distributed albums have reached #1 since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard. I think we'll see more of this in the future, too.

Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream holds at #2 for the second week. It's the first album to spend its first eight weeks at #1 or #2 since Usher's Confessions spent its first nine weeks in the top two spots in 2004. Boyle appeared on Oprah on Jan. 19, which could help her album return to #1 next week.

Ke$ha's Animal drops from #1 to #3 in its second week. The album sold more digital than physical copies again this week. The album sold 44,000 digital copies this week out of a total of 67,000. That's a 66% digital share.

Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" tops Hot Digital Songs for the fifth straight week. The song sold 244,000 digital copies this week, bringing its 17-week total to 2,947,000. It's the first song by a female solo artist to log five consecutive weeks at #1 since Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," which spent six weeks on top in June and July 2008. That song seemed provocative at the time, but it seems almost tame in the wake of "TiK ToK."

"TiK ToK," with its unexpected reference to Mick Jagger, has also been #1 on the Hot 100 for the past five weeks. The Rolling Stones had eight #1 hits on the Hot 100 between 1965 and 1978, but haven't made it back to the top spot for more than 31 years (yikes!). Now, Jagger has the next best thing to a #1 hit: a name-drop in a #1 hit.

Taylor Swift's Fearless logs its 53rd week in the top 10 on The Billboard 200. This ties Shania Twain's 1997 blockbuster Come On Over for the longest run in the top 10 by a country album in chart history. But then you already knew that if you read my Chart Watch Extra last week in which I counted down the 18 albums that spent a year or more in the top 10. If you missed it, here's a link.

The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" moves up to #5 on the all-time list of top digital songs this week, bumping Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" down to #6. This changes a few things. Last week, Lady Gaga was the only artist with two songs in the all-time top five on Hot Digital Songs. This week, The Peas are. "Boom Boom Pow" is #3 on the list, with sales of 4,865,000 digital copies.

Song Scorecard: Owl City's engaging "Fireflies" tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. "Fireflies" was the #9 digital song of 2009 and is still going strong.

Rascal Flatts' 2006 hit "What Hurts The Most" tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. This makes Rascal Flatts the first country group to top the 2 million mark with two songs. "Life Is A Highway," which was featured in the movie Cars, currently stands at 2,263,000...Green Day's "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" also tops the 2 million mark this week. The rock ballad won the Grammy for Record of the Year for 2005.

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

1. Vampire Weekend, Contra, 124,000. The new entry is the band's first top 10 album. Contra sold more than four times as many copies in its first week as the band's debut album did in its first week in February 2008, when it bowed and peaked at #17. "Horchata" enters Hot Digital Songs at #90.

2. Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream, 77,000. The former #1 album holds at #2 for the second week. The album has sold 3,272,000 copies in eight weeks.

3. Ke$ha, Animal, 67,000. The album drops from #1 to #3 in its second week. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "TiK ToK," which holds at #1 for the fifth week.

4. Lady Gaga, The Fame, 64,000. The album dips from #3 to #4 in its 64th week.  This is its 30th week in the top 10. Six songs from the expanded version of the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Bad Romance," which inches back up from #3 to #2.

5. Alicia Keys, The Element Of Freedom, 48,000. The album dips from #4 to #5. This is its fifth week in the top five. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart," which dips from #55 to #57.

6. Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster, 36,000. The eight-song EP rebounds from #10 to #6 in its eighth week. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Two songs from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Bad Romance," which inches back up to #2.

7. Mary J. Blige, Stronger Witheach Tear, 35,000. The album drops from #5 to #7. This is its fourth week in the top 10. "I Am" inches up from #122 to #120 on Hot Digital Songs.

8. Taylor Swift, Fearless, 33,000. The former #1 album dips from #7 to #8 in its 62nd week. This is its 53rd week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "You Belong With Me," which drops from #37 to #44.

9. Soundtrack, Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, 33,000. The soundtrack drops from #6 to #9 in its seventh week. This is its third week in the top 10.

10. The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D., 32,000. The former #1 album drops from #8 to #10 in its 32nd week. This is its 19th week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "I Gotta Feeling," which dips from #8 to #11.

One album drops out of the top 10 this week. Justin Bieber's My World dips from #9 to #11.

Omarion's third studio album, Ollusion, debuts at #19. This is a soft debut for the R&B singer, whose first two studio albums, O and 21, both bowed at #1...Total Club Hits 4 opens at #25...OK Go lands its first top 40 album as its third album, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, bows at #40.

Michael Jackson's Number Ones moves up from #35 to #31 on The Billboard 200. It's the #1 Catalog Album for the 21st week. Jackson will receive a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award on the Grammy telecast on Jan. 31. Will that tribute, sure to be a highlight of the show, send this album back into the top 10? I'd say that's a safe bet.

The Avatar soundtrack drops from #31 to #47. The movie topped the box-office for the fifth weekend. It's the first movie to finish #1 for five weekends since The Sixth Sense in August and September 1999. (Titanic, which was director James Cameron's film before Avatar, was #1 for 15 weekends, from December 1997 through March 1998.)

Both surviving former Beatles are listed in the top 100 this week. Ringo Starr debuts at #58 with his latest studio album, Y Not. Paul McCartney dips from #93 to #98 with his live album, Good Evening New York City. McCartney's album didn't set the charts on fire, but it has quietly sold 245,000 copies in nine weeks.

Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" jumps from #14 to #3 on Hot Digital Songs. The song is shaping up as the group's biggest hit since 2001's "Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me)." That smash, a Grammy finalist for Record and Song of the Year, re-enters Hot Digital Songs this week at #165. It has sold 1,107,000 digital copies, a solid total considering it was released before the digital boom.

Lady Antebellum's "Ready To Love Again" is this week's hottest new song. It enters Hot Digital Songs at #37. It's the second song from the country trio's forthcoming sophomore album, Need You Now. The first single (and title song) from the album has sold 1,482,000 digital copies.

R.I.P. Fans remembered the great Teddy Pendergrass, who died last week at the age of 59. The Essential Teddy Pendergrass enters The Billboard 200 at #136. Pendergrass' most famous song, "If You Don't Know Me By Now," enters Hot Digital Songs at #154. Pendergrass recorded that bluesy R&B ballad in 1972 when he was fronting Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Pendergrass went solo in 1976 and reached the top 20 on The Billboard 200 with his first five studio albums. The star was paralyzed from the waist down in a 1982 accident, but he came back with such hits as "Hold Me" in 1984 (which featured a 20-year newcomer named Whitney Houston).

Heads Up: Spoon's Tranference and 2010 Grammy Nominees are expected to be next week's top new chart entries. Spoon's last album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, made the top 10, as have eight installments in the Grammy Nominees series. Also due: Gretchen Wilson's Greatest Hits, Motion City Soundtrack's My Dinosaur Life, eels' End Times and the soundtrack to Crazy Heart, which features the Golden Globe-winning song "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)."

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