WINNER OF THE WEEK: Dave Matthews Band. And rock albums in general. The hippie hero's Away from the World LP debuts at Number One with 266,000 copies sold; next on the album chart is Little Big Town's Tornado (technically a country band, although I think they sound like Fleetwood Mac so I'm including them here), with 113,000; Bob Dylan's Tempest, with 110,000; the Avett Brothers' The Carpenter, with 98,000; the xx's Coexist, with 73,000; and ZZ Top's La Futura, with 31,000. Will any of these fine albums linger in the Top 10? If recent trends are any indication, the answer's clearly no. Number Ones outside of Adele's 21 have dropped consistently in subsequent weeks over the past several months, and rock albums in particular have had a disturbing habit of plummeting. Can DMB muster their considerable ground forces to break this trend? Maybe, but I doubt Dave cares. The money's in concerts, and albums aren't worth the super-promotion.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Last week's rock albums. See? See? This is what I keep harping about. Rock albums have been hitting Number One without much trouble, but they stick around about as long as Mitt Romney at a homeless convention. (Disturbingly, lately, hip-hop albums are following this trend as well.) Matchbox Twenty's North fell 71 percent, with just 28,000 sales, dropping from Number One to Number Eight; Imagine Dragons followed up their unexpected Number Two debut with a 65 percent drop, from Number Two to Number Seven, with 29,000 sales. The only way to crack this code and cling to the Top 10 is to slam singles onto the charts while simultaneously, relentlessly pushing an album – and only a handful of major stars seem to have the juice to be able to do this, including Adele, Lil Wayne (sort of) and Taylor Swift (we'll see next month).
"GANGNAM STYLE" UPDATE OF THE WEEK: Psy's ridiculously funny "Gangnam Style" video has crossed over from Korean to international YouTube fame (221.5 million views since its July 15 debut, up from 167.5 million late last week) to sales success (it's Number Four on iTunes in the U.S. this week). The K-pop star who rocks the horse-dance told me last week: "This means [something] huge to me and to my home country. This never happens before, with our own language, to be ranked in Billboard U.S. This is history in my country . . . This is like [the] happiest moment in my life." Will it continue? I wouldn't bet against it. The Ultimate Chart, which measures Internet criteria and often predicts chart trends, showed a jump from Number Nine to Number Five. "Gangnam" has more momentum than most fads.
LAST WEEK: Imagine Dragons' Big Debut