WINNER OF THE WEEK: R&B, but not spectacularly. Beyoncé held firm atop the Billboard 200 albums chart, moving 115,000 copies. However, that’s down an alarming 63 percent drop from last week, confirming our theory that B’s momentum comes from mainstream, increasingly outdated hard-copy purchases over lasting internet buzz: she was demoted to Number Two in iTunes album sales by a vengeful Adele, and current singles "Best Thing I Never Had" and "Run the World (Girls)" are Number 27 and Number 30 respectively on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart.
Atlanta crooner Lloyd made the week’s most impressive debut at Number 10 with his fourth record, King of Hearts, selling 26,000 copies – a notable descent from the performance of his 2008 album Lessons in Love, which debuted at Number Seven and moved 51,000. The 24-year-old was the only new face in the Top 40, though, and it’s his third straight Top 10 debut, so this is still a victory. (Related: Lloyd just got a gargantuan guns-and-roses-motif tattoo across the back of his head, but he’ll need a few more feet of ink before he bests current tourmate Lil Wayne.)
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Sincerity, if the rampant success of LMFAO is any indication. The über-hipster electro-hop duo’s single "Party Rock Anthem" hit Number One on the iTunes singles chart and the Ultimate Chart, suggesting that the comically trendy Los Angeles novelty act may have staying power. (If you question their M.O., know that their name is cribbed from the internet-slang acronym for "Laughing My Fucking Ass Off," they posed for an MTV interview clad only in their underwear and that the song’s video includes two-stepping robots in tracksuits.) "Party Rock Anthem" is synth-heavy club pop with detached, silly rhymes and a droning hook from Lauren Bennett, a young blonde packaged as the poor man’s Ke$ha.
For their flash-flood online popularity, though, LMFAO’s digital sales are lagging: they moved 236,000 downloads this week, down nine percent from last week. Their album Sorry for Party Rocking is experiencing a swift downward trajectory on the Billboard 200, where it dropped from Number 12 to Number 40 last week. This suggests that the pair’s club antics aren’t translating to solid sales, and they’ll need a follow-up single of equal, maddening catchiness to convince listeners to spin the entire disc. Then again, both members of LMFAO are related to Motown Records impresario Berry Gordy, so they’ve got powerhouse career engineers behind their schtick.
BIEBER, BUY HER FLOWERS: At 18 years old, Disney star Selena Gomez would normally be learning her math in a classroom. However, she got a comparative stats lesson on the Billboard charts this week: her pop troupe Selena Gomez & the Scene rose one spot to Number Three with 44,000 copies purchased. That’s a 43 percent drop in sales, yet her numerical climb makes this album, When the Sun Goes Down, the highest-charting yet of her three albums. Usually, a decline in sales means a slipped rank on the charts, so this just shows how quiet album sales were over the holiday weekend (they were down 16 percent from last week). But it’s not all dire news: year-to-date album sales are now up one percent from this time last year.
LAST WEEK: Will Beyoncé's Reign Be Short-Lived?