Kids Spark CD Sales Surge

Debuts hard to find, but album sales jump

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Led by a blond, mop-topped "Little Prince of Pop" who says "Come Get It," the kids did just that, following Aaron Carter as though he were the Pied Piper of Holy Week into the malls and sending music sales skyward this week.

While 2Pac's Until the End of Time stubbornly held onto the Number Two slot on this week's SoundScan charts, much of the rest of the chart suggests that not only are the kids alright, they made out like bandits last week. The various artists hits compilation Now That's What I Call Music held onto the top spot for the second straight week, and in doing so it scanned 546,778 copies, topping its debut week sales and pushing it over the 1 million copies sold mark in just two weeks.

Kid power was evident elsewhere. Carter's appearance in the hit Broadway production, Seussical! may have had something to do with his debut album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It) selling more than 100,000 copies in its twenty-ninth week, catapulting it from Number Fifteen to Number Four. Elsewhere, Dream's It Was All a Dream found its way back into the Top Ten by nearly doubling its sales from the previous week, and the soundtrack to Josie and the Pussycats flew in from Number Eighty-two last week to Number Sixteen.

But sales increases weren't limited to pop. Most everyone found their merch popping up in Easter baskets. Shaggy's Hotshot shows no interest in leaving the Top Five; Hotshot's sales of nearly 170,000 last week were enough to send it past the 5 million copies sold mark, while both Ludacris' Back for the First Time and Moby's Play moved beyond 2 million copies sold.

In broader terms, last week, only two albums in the Top Fifty showed sales increases. This week, thirty-one jumped (with an additional thirty-four increasing in the Top 100). Granted, amid the purchasing flurry, it was a rather uninteresting week for debuts. The fiercely independent Ani DiFranco proved that top-dollar promotion isn't the sole way to sell albums as her two-disc package, Revelling and Reckoning, on her own Righteous Babe label scanned a healthy 37,169 copies to land the highest debut at Number Fifty. Rapper Slim Calhoun's Skinny was the week's only newcomer to the Top 100, coming in at Number Seventy-eight. Only nine other albums even scratched their way into the Top 200 in this, their first week.

With no holiday occasion this week (though Professional Secretaries Day is April 26th), and a field of nags let loose in record stores this week, next week might proved to be something of a letdown. Compilations tied into the IMAX film, All Access, and the Billboard Latin Music Awards, might show some muscle due to all-star lineups. But Janet (formerly Janet Jackson, or Ms. Jackson if yer nasty) has a highly anticipated new album due next Tuesday, which should kick-start the summer release parade a few weeks early.

This week's Top Ten: Now That's What I Call Music! 6 (546,778 copies sold); 2Pac's Until the End of Time (196,546); Shaggy's Hotshot (169,709); Aaron Carter's Aaron's Party (Come Get It) (105,268); Dave Matthews Band's Everyday (92,812); Ginuwine's The Life (91,261); Dream's It Was All a Dream (91,190); Dido's No Angel (89,803); Lifehouse's No Name Face (89,729); and Nelly's Country Grammar (88,846).