WINNER OF THE WEEK: Rock. Check out the iTunes album chart this week: Evanescence (Number One), Five Finger Death Punch (Number Three), Ryan Adams (OK, he's country-rock, but still, Number Four) and Coldplay (Number Eight). Plus, on the Billboard 200, Evanescence's top-ranking album Evanescence sold 127,000 copies, with a single, "What You Want," that jumped from Number 15 to Number 13 on the rock airplay chart. All year, rock titles, from the Strokes to Cake, have been making strong debuts, then dropping off, but it seems like at least a few of these, from established recent hitmakers such as Evanescence and Coldplay, have a chance of sticking around. Still, we wouldn't bet big money on Five Finger Death Punch's staying power, even though the LA metal band's new American Capitalist sold 91,000 copies in its first week.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: The old pop guard. Supposedly, Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne were to rule the charts all year with their blockbuster releases. And they both did well in their first weeks, selling 1.1 million and 964,000 copies, respectively – but Gaga needed a ridiculous Amazon deal to hit this mark and Wayne needed relentless singles and mixtapes. Where are they today? Gaga's "Yoü and I" single is clinging to the bottom of iTunes' Top 10 and "The Edge of Glory" dropped 14 places down the Ultimate Chart, to Number 52. Weezy's Tha Carter IV album lost 45,000 sales this week, slipping from Number Six to Number Nine, and his flood of recent singles are no longer in iTunes' Top 10. Who replaced them, sales-wise? In albums, no question: Adele, the new queen of the music business. In singles, new and returning hitmakers who have been surprisingly consistent: Foster the People, LMFAO, Maroon 5, Gym Class Heroes and Katy Perry.
REPORTS OF THE DEATH OF AUTO-TUNE WERE PREMATURE: T-Pain's "5 O'Clock," which opens with a whispery hook by British singer-songwriter Lily Allen and includes a guest rap by Wiz Khalifa and some nice organ lines, jumped a huge 124 spots on BigChampagne's latest Ultimate Chart, winding up at Number 17. That means, in addition to a bit of radio play, it went crazy online, racking up more than 3.8 million YouTube views since it made its debut in late September; it also was Amazon's MP3 of the Day in mid-October, although its 99-cent price wasn't exactly a bargain. On the "real" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, it also surged nicely, from Number 62 to Number 30 in just two weeks. According to T-Pain's tweets, a new video, "Drowning Again," is due at any moment; the singles should set up his upcoming album, "RevolveR," out December 6th.