Chart Watch

Week Ending Jan. 2, 2011: This Is No Bomb

Chart Watch

Bruno Mars' "Grenade" becomes only the second song in digital history to top 400K in weekly sales more than once. The smash sold 425K copies last week and 559K copies the week before that. The only other song to achieve this feat is Flo Rida's 2009 smash "Right Round," which sold 636K and 460K in its first two weeks. "Grenade" tops the 2 million mark in total sales this week. It's Mars' fourth hit to reach this plateau, counting his featured roles on B.o.B's "Nothin' On You" and Travie McCoy's "Billionaire."

The success of "Grenade" boosts Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans album, which jumps from #20 to #7 on The Billboard 200. The album debuted at #3 in October, but dropped as low as #50 the following month. Mars is one of the most successful "singles artists" of the past few years. His four most famous hits have sold a combined total of 10,745,000 copies. Mars' album has sold a less spectacular, but still solid, 458K copies.

Katy Perry's "Firework" and Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" trail Mars' hit on the Hot Digital Songs chart. Both songs have sold more than 300K copies in each of the least two weeks. Only 10 songs in digital history have sold that many copies more than once. Both songs topped the 2 million mark in total paid downloads this week.

Perry's Teenage Dream album jumps from #12 to #9 on The Billboard 200. The album raised eyebrows when it dropped out of the top 10 after just four weeks last September. It dropped as low as #34 in November. But it has demonstrated staying power. The album has spawned three #1 singles on the Hot 100 and received an unexpected Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.

"California Gurls," Perry's summer smash with Snoop Dogg, edged out Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" as the #1 song of 2010. But it was extremely close. "California Gurls" sold just 84K more copies during the year than Train's "little tune that could." "California Gurls" sold 4,398,000 copies during the year. Only two songs in digital history have ever sold more copies in a calendar year. Both were by the Black Eyed Peas; both came last year. both came last year. I just updated my post of the year's top 20 songs. Here's a link.

There was a major shake-out in the top 10 on The Billboard 200 in the last chart week of 2010. Albums by Kanye West, Daft Punk, Mars and Perry all return to the top 10 this week, while a sleeper hit by Mumford & Sons finally cracks the top 10 in its 41st week on the chart.

To make way, albums by Michael Jackson and Jamie Foxx fall out of the top 10, as do, more predictably, Christmas-themed albums by Susan Boyle, Jackie Evancho and the cast of Glee. (The Glee Christmas album plummets from #3 to #108, which must set some kind of record). Jackson's highly-touted album spent just two weeks in the top 10. Foxx's album spent just one week there.

Taylor Swift's Speak Now logs its fifth week at #1, a record matched by only one album in 2010: Eminem's Recovery, which topped the chart for seven weeks. This is the fourth consecutive year in which Swift has appeared in the top 10 in the last week of the year. She was also #1 two years ago this week with Fearless.

Recovery continues its chart recovery. The album, which had fallen as low as #25 in November and December, jumps from #7 to #2 this week. Recovery is a Grammy finalist for Album of the Year. In fact, it's the front-runner to win the award on Feb. 13.

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Recovery sold 3,415,000 copies in 2010, which is more than any album sold in 2008 or 2009. In this nervous economy and in this down market for album sales, that's remarkable. I have updated my year-end report on the year's top-selling albums. Here's a link.

Rihanna's Loud jumps from #10 to #3, matching its highest ranking to date. The album jumps to #1 in the U.K. It's Rihanna's second #1 album in that key market, following 2007's Good Girl Gone Bad. Rihanna has yet to land a #1 album in the U.S.

Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy vaults from #19 to #5. The album had fallen as low as #23 in its fourth week. The album showed up on many year-end critics' lists. It missed this year's Grammy cut-off, but it will probably be a candidate for key honors at the Grammys that are presented in February 2012. So it most likely has a long life ahead of it.

Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy soundtrack vaults from #37 to #6. This is the highest that a score soundtrack (as opposed to a pop compilation soundtrack) has climbed since John Williams' score to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith debuted and peaked at #6 in May 2005. Tron: Legacy is this week's highest-charting soundtrack. Remarkably, this marks the first time in nearly six months that the soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie has been the week's top soundtrack. This last happened in July when The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was out front. Every week since then (until this week) a TV soundtrack has edged out the top movie soundtrack.

Tron: Legacy is #1 on the Digital Albums chart for the second time in three weeks. It sold 35K digital copies this week (out of 54K total copies this week). It has sold 151K digital copies to date (out of 243K total copies to date).

Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More vaults from #34 to #8, finally cracking the top 10 in its 41st week on The Billboard 200. The album's previous highest ranking was #16. The album took longer to crack the top 10 than any album since Zac Brown Band's The Foundation, which cracked the top 10 in its 64th week in February 2010. Grammy recognition in the Best New Artist category boosted both albums. Mumford & Sons is nominated in the category this year. The Brown Band won the award last year.

(Mumford & Sons is the third of the five Best New Artist nominees to reach the top 10 on The Billboard 200. Drake hit the top 10 in September 2009. Justin Bieber scored two months later. Of the two other nominees, Florence + the Machine has climbed as high as #14. Esperanza Spalding, the dark horse, has hit #107.)

Kid Rock's Born Free sold 640,000 copies in the last seven weeks of 2010. That was enough to make it the best-selling rock album of 2010. This is the first time that Kid Rock has had the year's top rock album.

Born Free ranked #34 on Nielsen SoundScan's list of the best-selling albums of 2010. It's the first time in Nielsen SoundScan history that no rock albums ranked among the year's top 20. (The previous low for rock came in 2002 when the year's top rock album, Creed's Weathered, ranked #16 for the year.)

Here's the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs. Bruno Mars' "Grenade" holds at #1 for the third week (425K). Katy Perry's "Firework" holds at #2 for the third week (398K). Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" holds at #3 for the second week (319K). P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" rebounds from #6 to #4 (273K). Enrique Iglesias featuring  Ludacris & DJ Frank E's "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" jumps from #7 to #5 (270K). Rihanna featuring Drake's "What's My Name?" drops from #4 to #6 (262K). Wiz Khalifa's "Black And Yellow" drops from #5 to #7 (261K). The Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit) jumps from #9 to #8 (260K). Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj's "Bottoms Up" rebounds from #10 to #9 (224K). Nelly's "Just A Dream" jumps from #13 to #10 (204K).

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

 

1. Taylor Swift, Speak Now, 77,000. The album logs its fifth week at #1. This is its 10th week of release. It has been in the top 10 the whole time. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Back To December" jumps from #36 to #26. "Mine" jumps from #42 to #35.

2. Eminem, Recovery, 63,000. The former #1 album jumps from #7 to #2 in its 28th week. This is its 22nd week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Love The Way You Lie" (featuring Rihanna), which dips from #32 to #36.

3. Rihanna, Loud, 62,000. The album jumps from #10 to #3 in its seventh week. This matches its highest ranking to date. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "What's My Name?" (featuring Drake), which dips from #4 to #6.

4. Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, 61,000. The album jumps from #8 to #4 in its sixth week. It has been in the top 10 the whole time. Five songs from the album are featured on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Right Thru Me," which drops from #43 to #51.

5. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 58,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #19 to #5 in its sixth week. This is its third week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Monster" (featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj) jumps from #130 to #115. "All Of The Lights" re-enters at #190.

6. Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy soundtrack, 54,000. The album rebounds from #37 to #6 in its fourth week. This is its highest ranking to date. This is its second week in the top 10. "Derezzed" jumps from #151 to #139 on Hot Digital Songs.

7. Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, 45,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #20 to #7 in its 13th week. This is its second week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Grenade," which holds at #1 for the third straight week.

8. Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More, 39,000. The album vaults from #34 to #8 in its 41st week. This is its first week in the top 10. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Little Lion Man" jumps from #95 to #72. "Cave" debuts at #192.

9. Katy Perry, Teenage Dream, 38,000. The former #1 album rebounds from #12 to #7 in its 19th week. This its sixth week in the top 10. Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Firework," which holds at #2 for the third week.

10. Keyshia Cole, Calling All Hearts, 37,000. The album dips from #9 to #10 in its second week. But it held up better than Jamie Foxx's Best Night Of My Life, which fell from #6 to #11 in its second week.

 

Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Susan Boyle's The Gift drops from #2 to #31. Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album plummets from #3 to #108. Jackie Evancho's O Holy Night drops from #4 to #39. Michael Jackson's MICHAEL drops from #5 to #18. Jamie Foxx's Best Night Of My Life drops from #6 to #11.

Taylor Swift's 2007 album Sounds Of The Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection jumps from #100 to #33. It's the #1 Catalog Albums chart. It also topped that chart one year ago this week.

Song Scorecard: Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" tops the 5 million mark in total sales this week. (It sold 687,000 copies in 2009, when it was released.) The amiable tune is only the eighth song to reach the 5 million milestone. And it's only the second song to get there that has what you might call softer, adult contemporary appeal. The other is Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours."

Two songs topped the 4 million mark in paid downloads this week: Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" and "Airplanes" by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams. These are the first 4-million sellers for all concerned.

Two songs topped the 3 million mark: Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and Finger Eleven's 2007 hit "Paralyzer." This is Ms. Perry's fourth 3-million seller.

Seven songs topped the 2 million mark: I already told you about "Grenade," "Firework" and "We R Who We R." The other four are P!nk's "Raise Your Glass," Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj's "Bottoms Up," Rihanna's 2006 hit "SOS" and the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' 2006 hit "Face Down."

"SOS" is Rihanna's 10th song (as a lead or featured artist) to sell 2 million or more digital copies. "Firework" is Katy Perry's fifth. These hits are the fourth 2-million sellers for Bruno Mars and Ke$ha; the second for P!nk.

Shameless Plug I: These seven new 2-million sellers push the total number of songs that have achieved that feat to 206. That means that, for the first time, Nielsen SoundScan's running list of the 200 top-selling songs in digital history doesn't include every 2-million seller.  It's hard to imagine now, but it was just four years ago that Daniel Powter's mope-classic "Bad Day" became the first song to sell 2 million digital copies. The explosive growth of digital music has been the biggest (OK, the only) area of growth in the music business in the past decade. On Friday, I'll post a Chart Watch Extra in which I look at digital music. I'll focus on which artists have amassed the most 2 million sellers.

Paramore's "The Only Exception" topped the 1 million mark in paid downloads.

Shameless Plug II:  Beyonce's I Am...World Tour sold 139K copies in the last six weeks of 2010 to become the year's #1 music video. Here's a link to the list of the year's top-selling music videos, which I have updated.

Sales Report: Here are two indications of how soft album sales are. A little more than 15 million albums were sold last week, which constituted the lowest total during Christmas week in Nielsen SoundScan history. It's less than one-third of the total (45,372,000) during Christmas week of 2000, when album sales were at their peak. Even more damning, it's less than half of the total (31,260,000) during Christmas week just four years ago. Also: This week marks the first time that the #1 album during the final week of the Nielsen SoundScan tracking year has sold fewer than 100K copies. (The previous low was set by Omarion's 21, which sold 119K during this week four years ago.)

R.I.P. Gerry Rafferty, who had two classic pop hits in the 1970s, died on Tuesday. As half of the duo Stealers Wheel, Rafferty hit the top 10 in 1973 with "Stuck In The Middle With You." (The song was memorably featured in a key scene in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 film, Reservoir Dogs.)  In 1978, Rafferty had an even bigger hit, the very classy "Baker Street," which logged six weeks at #2 and went on to receive a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.

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