WINNER OF THE WEEK: Psy's "Gangnam Style." We admit to being a few weeks late on this astoundingly great K-Pop video that has all the best elements of hypnotically weird one-hit wonders, from Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" to Kreayshawn's "Gucci Gucci." The deadpan video – in which 34-year-old hipster Park Jaesang stares directly into the camera while doing various bizarre horse-riding dance moves in a succession of Elvis-and-beachcombing costumes – has racked up 105.5 million YouTube views since it came out in mid-July. It hasn't made a dent on iTunes in the U.S. yet, but BigChampagne's Internet data-mining Ultimate Chart has it rising from Number 23 to Number Nine. It's a novelty, but industry people are already talking about Psy as the Next Big Thing, with possible representation from Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun and others. It's also a satire of wealthy Seoul culture, which in itself makes it deeper than its viral precursor, Rebecca Black's "Friday." We hope Psy gets filthy rich from this.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Superstar albums. The cavalry is on the way – holiday-season albums by Taylor Swift, Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music, Mumford & Sons, Green Day, No Doubt, Ellie Goulding and Carly Rae Jepsen are due in the next couple of months – but the pre-Labor Day album-chart week is kind of a bummer. Christian hip-hop singer-songwriter TobyMac, once of the squeaky clean Nineties trio DC Talk, hit Number One with just 69,000 sales of his Eye On It LP; Slaughterhouse's welcome to: OUR HOUSE, despite two decent Eminem collaborations, sold a so-so 52,000 to debut at Number Two; and, not surprisingly, given the recent precipitous drops of Number One albums, Trey Songz' Chapter V loses 69 percent of sales, falling to Number Three in its second week.
WHY DOESN'T ITUNES DO MORE OF THIS? We admit to shopping for MP3 albums mostly on Amazon and Google in recent months – even though iTunes is often more convenient for us Apple-device freaks, since purchases show up automatically via iCloud. (Yeah, we know, Android and such have similar deals.) But every now and then Apple jumps into the bargain basement, this week discounting Carrie Underwood's Blown Away to $6.99 and marketing it prominently via email and through iTunes promotions – Underwood herself even played it up via Twitter. The result was a sales boost of 85 percent, pushing the country star's latest album from Number 21 to Number Eight.
LAST WEEK: The end of the Adele era?