Taylor Swift’s Speak Now holds on for another week at #1 on the Billboard charts published today. That’s the good news, I guess. What’s the bad news? She does so with the lowest sales for a chart-topping album in history. And it’s not even close. Taylor manages to sell only 52,000 records this week, 8,000 units less than the previous dubious record-holder, the Dreamgirls soundtrack.
It’s fairly obvious that album sales are in the shitter. Add in a week with no major (or minor) new releases and weather issues across the country, and this was a perfect storm that probably won’t be dug out of next week. There’s a possibility that new albums by Cake and Cage the Elephant might sell above 50,000 units, but as I type this, I’m buried under enough snow that I wouldn’t even consider going to a record store (and yes, I’m one of the 70% of music-buying Americans who still buys physical albums). So we could be in for even more bad news next week is all I’m saying.
Of course, people are still buying individual tracks. The top 16 singles this week each sell over 100,000 downloads, led by Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” with over 275K. Bruno Mars is also angling to be 2011’s first breakout star on the album chart, as Doo-Wops and Hooligans jumps to #3 this week and comes within a week of hitting the 500,000 mark.
Only 17 albums increase in sales over the previous week on this week’s chart. Most of the big jumps are due to either death (Gerry Rafferty’s City to City re-enters the chart at #117, it’s first chart appearance in over three decades), practically giving an album away (Lady Antebellum’s Merry Little Christmas jumps 70-12 thanks to special pricing) or TV exposure, as The Black Keys’ Brothers jumps to #14 and skates over the Gold mark, a new high-water sales level for the duo. They performed on “Saturday Night Live” last week and Brothers might jump back into the Top 10 next week thanks to a combination of continued weak sales and a Letterman performance.
Will sales hold next week? Or is that just wishful thinking on my part? Check in next week for another installment of Chart Stalker!!
This week’s Top 20 albums are after the jump
1) Speak Now, Taylor Swift
2) Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj
3) Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars
4) Tron Legacy Soundtrack, Daft Punk
5) Recovery, Eminem
6) Loud, Rihanna
7) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
8) Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons
9) My Kinda Party, Jason Aldean
10) Country Strong Soundtrack, Various Artists
11) Teenage Dream, Katy Perry
12) Merry Little Christmas, Lady Antebellum
13) Love Letter, R. Kelly
14) Brothers, The Black Keys
15) The Beginning, The Black Eyed Peas
16) The Best Night of My Life, Jamie Foxx
17) Born Free, Kid Rock
18) Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
19) No Mercy, T.I.
20) Greatest Hits…So Far!, P!nk
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