Spotify, YouTube and, any day now, Beats Music may well take over the record industry and usher in a renaissance of rich Sony and Universal executives. For now, though, let's say good riddance to 2013, which ended with minus-eight percent album sales and minus-six percent track sales. So what's coming? No idea. January 2nd is the worst possible day to make predictions for hit 2014 singles – nothing's out yet, nobody's on tour, and those employed in the music business are still drinking spiked eggnog around their fireplaces while they can still afford nog, booze and fireplaces.
WINNER OF THE WEEK: GIFT CARDS!: It's iTunes Gift Card time of year, which is different than Cool New Music time of year. (That usually arrives early summer or Labor Day.) People who received Christmas gift cards are getting around to buying albums they've heard of, like Beyoncé, which sold another 310,000 copies this week (a drop of 17 percent) and hung on to Number One; One Direction's Midnight Memories (142,000, down 14 percent, Number Two); and Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (122,000, up six percent, Number Three). Nothing new is in the Top 10, just Katy Perry's Prism, Lorde's Pure Heroine, Miley Cyrus' Bangerz and Imagine Dragons' Night Visions, all of which, except for Lorde, had sales boosts due to iTunes post-holiday price cuts.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: HOLIDAY ALBUMS!: Thankfully, we can finally stop listening to new versions of the same old songs again for another 10 months. I'm particularly happy to lose the Robertsons' Duck the Halls, given the homophobic things Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson has been spewing to any reporter who'll listen. Duck dropped 55 percent, selling just 60,000, landing at Number 11, seven spaces down the Billboard albums chart from the previous week. Don't expect it to return anytime soon. Also declining sharply: Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red (62,000, a decrease of 50 percent, from Number Five to Number 10) and Garth Brooks' non-holiday-themed-but-gift-friendly box set Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences (90,000, minus 55 percent, from Number Two to Number Six).
UNDERRATED HOLIDAY-SEASON TREND OF THE WEEK: MOVIE HITS!: Idina Menzel's "Let It Go," from the Disney hit Frozen, has scored nearly 25 million YouTube views over the past month and jumped 21 spots on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart, which monitors online trends, landing at Number 17. Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire," from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, logged more than 5.5 million YouTube views since it came out in mid-December, then jumped 107 spots last week and landed at Number 78 on the Ultimate Chart.
Last week: Beyoncé Stays Fierce