WINNER OF THE WEEK: Adele's 21 is proving resilient on the Billboard albums chart – it hit Number One again this week, selling 98,000 copies, after dropping to Number Two last week in favor of Lupe Fiasco's Lasers – even though her powerful, Dusty Springfield-style single, "Rolling in the Deep," seems to have little to do with the album's success. The single peaked at just Number 13 on the Billboard singles chart, and it's languishing at Number 12 on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart, which measures stats from iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Pandora and others. What's probably going on is a gap between older listeners who hear about music via NPR, Amazon and maybe Pandora – and still buy CDs, or at least full-album iTunes downloads – and younger listeners who basically discover and consume their music for free from YouTube or torrent sites.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: There were no major chart losers this week, although Fiasco's album sales dropped 77 percent, selling just 47,000 copies, and he slipped from Number One to Number Three. But this is a good excuse to mention Rihanna, whose fiery single "S&M" dropped two slots on the Ultimate Chart (to Number Five) and one on Billboard's Hot 100 (to Number Four). Less than a year after Rihanna's 2010 summer tour with Ke$ha tanked in a bad concert economy, her arena tour is similarly leaving the bad smell of empty seats. One upcoming show at Boston's TD Garden has reportedly sold just 3,700 tickets, compared to a break-even mark of 15,000. Of course, tour sales and album sales these days have little to do with each other – ask Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones – but Rihanna needs better advice. With so many hits on the charts, she'd probably do awesomely on a scrappy little club tour.
BLACKWATCH: Rebecca Black, the 13-year-old "Friday" Auto-Tuned chanteuse who is either a "fucking terrible waste of time shit singer" (according to a typical sentiment on her YouTube page) or a "genius" (according to Lady Gaga), breaks into the pop charts this week for the first time in her ridiculously young career. Although her kickin'-in-the-front-seat, countin'-off-the-days-of-the-week video scored more than 38 million YouTube views in less than a week, it sold just 37,000 digital singles – though that was enough for Number 57 on Billboard's digital-songs chart. As of Wednesday afternoon, she was also not exactly getting iTunes so excited, lingering at Number 43.
THE STATE OF NEW WAVE: Rise Against's "Endgame" hit Number
Three Two on the Billboard album chart, with 85,000 copies sold – its best-selling week in chart history. Undoubtedly helping the band's cause was its first-place showing on iTunes this week – sadly, if recent rock-band-on-the-charts trends from Cake to Cage the Elephant are any indication, RA will plummet by next week. That said, the trend bodes well for the Strokes, whose comeback attempt Angles is out this week and all over the iTunes Store front page. We're going to go crazy and predict ... 198,000 copies for next week, good enough for Number One. Then a steep drop.