Chart Watch

Katy Perry Knocks Miley Cyrus Down a Couple Pegs

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Katy Perry’s third album, PRISM, sold 286K copies in its first week, which establishes a new record for a female artist in 2013. She edges out Miley Cyrus, whose Bangerz sold 270K in its first week two weeks ago. PRISM got off to a considerably faster start than Perry's last album, Teenage Dream, which sold 192K in its first week in August 2010.

Teenage Dream will forever be held up as Exhibit A when it comes to not dismissing an album based on a weaker-than-expected debut. Many pooh-poohed that album's first-week tally, given that the lead single, "California Gurls" (featuring Snoop Dogg), was a blockbuster. It had sold 3,319,000 copies by the time the album came out.

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You don't need me to tell you that Teenage Dream confounded the naysayers. The album (which re-enters the chart at #106 this week) has sold 2,782,000 copies. It became the first album in a generation to spawn five #1 hits on the Hot 100. It even received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.

Some, no doubt, will say that PRISM should have should have sold more than 286K copies. Perry, after all, is one of the biggest and most broadly popular music stars of the past five years. But I think we have to accept the reality that album sales aren't what they used to be and that 286K is a solid total for a pop album. It's probably the equivalent of 750K or so in the early 2000s, when album sales were at their peak.

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The last female artist to sell more than 286K copies in a week was Taylor Swift, whose Red sold 1,208,000 copies in its first week and 344K in its second late last year. Swift is in a class by herself in terms of album sales. Also, she has a country base, which Perry and Cyrus don't have.

The tally for Perry is the ninth biggest opening of the year, behind albums by Justin Timberlake (968K), Drake (658K), Jay Z (528K), Luke Bryan (528K), Timberlake again (350K), Daft Punk (339K), Kanye West (327K) and J. Cole (297K).

Let's take a closer look at that list. Drake, Jay Z, West and J. Cole are hip-hop, a genre with a huge, active constituency. Bryan is country, another genre with a vast, built-in audience. Daft Punk is dance music. That leaves just Timberlake and Perry representing mainstream pop.

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PRISM also enters The U.K.'s Official Albums Chart at #1. It's Perry's second album in a row to reach #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. Perry is the first "California Gurl" (that is to say, a woman born in California) to have two "transatlantic #1 albums." Moreover, both of these albums contained a single that reached #1 in both countries ("California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, and "Roar," respectively.)

PRISM sold 138K digital copies in the U.S., which allows it to enter Top Digital Albums at #1.

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Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt dips from #1 to #2. As you know, last week it became the band's fifth #1 album. That's one more #1 album than Nirvana had. That trio had four #1 albums between 1992 and 1996. These two bands were the leaders of the Seattle-based alternative rock scene which rocked the music business in the early 1990s. Pearl Jam is also ahead of its one-time rivals in overall album sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Pearl Jam has sold 31,785,000 albums. Nirvana has sold 26,410,000.

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Fifth Harmony's Better Together EP debuts at #6. The quintet consists of five young women, ages 16 to 20, who finished third on the second season of The X Factor. Their "Miss Movin' On" has climbed as high as #76 in its 10 weeks on the Hot 100.

Fifth Harmony is the second act whose name begins with the word "Fifth" to land a top 10 album. The 5th Dimension reached the top 10 from 1967 to 1970 with Up, Up And Away, The Age Of Aquarius and The 5th Dimension/Greatest Hits.

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Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 rebounds from #11 to #8 (showing more resiliency than I gave it credit for last week). Speaking of Timberlake, his first The 20/20 Experience tops the 1 million mark in digital sales this week. It's the eighth album to sell 1 million digital copies; the second by a male solo artist. (Eminem's Recovery has sold 1,275,000 digital copies.) Total sales to date of Timberlake's album (physical and digital combined): 2,330,000. Total sales to date of 2 of 2: 481K.

Luke Bryan's Crash My Party rebounds from #12 to #10. It returns to #1 on Top Country Albums. This is its seventh week on top. That's the longest run at #1 for an album by a male solo artist since Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party (another album with a "party" in its title) had 12 weeks on top in 2011. (Country folk sure like to party. Gretchen Wilson's Here For The Party was #1 for nine weeks in 2004.)

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Lorde's "Royals" returns to #1 on Hot Digital Songs (222K). This is its fifth week on top. That's the longest run at #1 on this chart for a hit by a female artist (in a lead or featured role) since Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" spent its first five weeks at #1 in the summer of 2012. Will "Royals" also log its fifth week at #1 on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

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

The Top Five: Katy Perry’s PRISM debuts at #1 (286K). It’s her third top 10 album…Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt dips from #1 to #2 in its second week (46K)…Drake's Nothing Was The Same rebounds from #4 to #3 in its fifth week (44K). It has been in the top five the entire time… Miley Cyrus' Bangerz drops from #2 to #4 in its third week (44K). It has been in the top five the entire time…Lorde's Pure Heroine rebounds from #7 to #5 in its fourth week (40K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time.

The Second Five: Fifth Harmony's Better Together EP debuts at #6 (28K). It's the group's first top 10 album…DJ Khaled's Suffering From Success debuts at #7 (27K). It's his fifth top 10 album…Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2 rebounds from #11 to #8 in its fourth week (26K). This is its third week in the top 10…AFI's Burials debuts at #9 (25K). It's the band's third top 10 album…Luke Bryan's Crash My Party rebounds from #12 to #10 in its 11th week (25K). This is its ninth week in the top 10.

Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Paul McCartney's New drops from #3 to #11. The Avett Brothers' Magpie And The Dandelion drops from #5 to #20. Scotty McCreery’s See You Tonight drops from #6 to #15. Cher's Closer To The Truth drops from #8 to #13. Willie Nelson's To All The Girls… drops from #9 to #19. The Head & The Heart's Let's Be Still drops from #10 to #14.

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TLC's 20 vaults from #72 to #12 in its second week. The surge is due to VH1's biopic, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, which drew 4.5 million viewers in its first airing. That made it the highest-rated cable movie of the year. The show was named after the trio's sophomore album, which re-enters the chart at #108. It has sold 7,495,000 copies.

Only two albums by all-female groups have sold more copies in the Nielsen SoundScan era. And they're both by the same group—Dixie Chicks. (There's that country base again.) Wide Open Spaces, the Chicks' first major-label album, has sold 8,841,000 copies. Fly, its second, has sold 8,396,000. Next in line, after CrazySexyCool, are Spice Girls' debut album, Spice (7,453,000), and Destiny's Child's sophomore album, Writing's On The Wall (6,347,000).

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20, the title of TLC's new album, is a reference to the act's longevity. TLC first cracked the top 20 in July 1992 with its debut album, Ooooooohhh…On The TLC Tip. (So 21 would have been more accurate.) Janet Jackson also made note of the 20th anniversary of her breakthrough with the title of her 2006 album, 20 Y.O. (as in Years On).

Tori Kelly's Foreward debuts at #16. She is the second artist named "Tori" to crack the top 20. Tori Amos first reached the top 20 in February 1994 with Under The Pink.

Motorhead's Aftershock debuts at #22. It's the first album by the English metal band to make the top 50. The band released its first album, Motorhead, in August 1977. It first cracked The Billboard 200 in May 1982 with Iron Fist.

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Def Leppard's Viva! Hysteria: Live At The Joint, Las Vegas debuts at #24. The highlight of this sprawling live album (two CDs and a DVD) is a performance of the band's 1987 album Hysteria in its entirety. Hysteria was the English rock band’s fourth album. The album logged 78 weeks in the top 10 from August 1987 to March 1989. That's the longest run in the top 10 for any album by a group or duo. In the last 50 years, only four other albums have spent as many or more weeks in the top 10: The Sound Of Music soundtrack (109 weeks), Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A. (84 weeks), Adele's 21 (81 weeks) and Michael Jackson's Thriller (also 78 weeks).

Andrea Bocelli's Love In Portofino debuts at #40. The live album was recorded in Portofino, Italy in August 2012…Il Volo's Buon Natale: The Christmas Album debuts at #55. The Italian operatic pop trio is patterned after Il Divo, which had the best-selling holiday album of 2005 with The Christmas Collection.

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Van Morrison's classic 1970 album Moondance re-enters the chart at #68. It has climbed as high as #29. The album reaches #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the first time in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The album has sold 2,683,000 copies since 1991.

Pitch Perfect rebounds from #100 to #92 in its 45th week. It's the highest-ranking soundtrack to a theatrically-released soundtrack for the 26th week.

Donna Summer's Love To Love You Donna debuts at #97. The clever title is a play on Summer's first hit, "Love To Love You Baby," which rose to #2 in February 1976. Summer died in May 2012 from lung cancer.

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Maroon 5 this week becomes just the second act to top the 500K mark in digital sales with three different albums. Taylor Swift was the first. Maroon 5 achieves the feat as its 2010 album Hands All Over tops the 500K mark. It follows 2012's Overexposed (which is up to 703K in digital sales) and 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long (501K). Swift's albums are higher on Nielsen SoundScan's "release-to-date" digital sales chart. Red has sold 1,112,000 digital copies. Fearless has sold 924K. Speak Now has sold 832K. Grammy trivia: Maroon 5 won a Grammy as Best New Artist. Swift was nominated for that award, but lost to Amy Winehouse.

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R.I.P. Lou Reed's influence far exceeded his music sales, but the rock legend had some notable chart successes in the 1970s. His highest-charting single was the rock classic "Walk On The Wild Side," which reached #16 on the Hot 100 in April 1973. His highest-charting album was Sally Can't Dance, which hit #10 on The Billboard 200 in November 1974. The Velvet Underground's highest-charting album, the compilation VU, reached #85 in April 1985. The band never cracked the Hot 100. Reed was 71 when he died on Sunday.

Jason Aldean's Night Train To Georgia is #1 on Top Music Videos for the second straight week. He's the first country male solo artist to spend multiple frames at #1 on that chart since Garth Brooks' The Ultimate Hits (a CD/DVD combo) spent its first 13 weeks at #1 in late 2007 and early 2008. Aldean's video has sold 20K copies in its first two weeks.

Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.

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Coming Attractions: Six albums will enter the top 10 next week. Look for Arcade Fire's Reflektor to debut at #1 with first-week sales in the 130K range. Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red will open at #3 (65K), followed by Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas (#4, 50K) and Toby Keith's Drinks After Work (#5, 35K). Thomas Rhett's It Goes Like This and Linkin Park's Recharged will probably each sell around 30K, putting them both in the #6-#8 range. Also due: Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio Volume 2 (about 12K), Susan Boyle's Home For Christmas and Insane Clown Posse's Forgotten Freshness, Vol. 5.

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