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On the Charts: Luke Bryan Edges Out John Mayer

Plus: Waiting on next week's post-VMAs sales bumps

Luke Bryan performs in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
August 28, 2013 1:55 PM ET

The giant "buy" buttons tied into Apple's iTunes Radio, which is supposed to arrive with iOS 7 software this month, may come just in time for the record industry – album sales are down six percent and track sales are down three percent so far this year. Streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube appear to be cutting into the download and CD business, but some music-business experts predict a successful iTunes Radio might push consumers back into buying. We'll see. And now back to your regularly scheduled chart news:

See John Mayer Behind the Scenes at 'Letterman'

NOT ENOUGH TWERKING?: John Mayer was planning to put out his new album, Paradise Valley, the same week he performed on Late Show with David Letterman. But when he finally showed the Letterman crowd a nice countryish song from the album, "Wildfire," CBS was feuding with Time Warner Cable – so the show wound up not airing in L.A. and New York. ("It's really, really unfortunate," Michael McDonald, Mayer's manager, told us this week.) Perhaps the exposure would have boosted Mayer's album to more than 144,000 sales in its debut week, which might have given it a shot at Number One. Instead, country star Luke Bryan's Crash My Party, which sold 159,000 copies (a sales drop of 70 percent), stayed at the top for a second straight week.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: And you thought you'd read a music story this week that didn't refer to Miley Cyrus' insane strip-and-twerk performance on MTV's Video Music Awards. Nice try! The bear-fetishizing, butt-sniffing, tongue-wagging ex-Hannah Montana star's hit "We Can't Stop" dropped three percent in sales this week, with 143,000 copies overall, slipping from Number Six to Number Seven on the Digital Songs chart. However, MTV's ratings jumped 66 percent compared to last year's show and Cyrus' racy performance generated all kinds of controversy, and these developments will almost certainly be reflected in next week's chart numbers. So watch this space for an answer to the crucial social question: Will "We Can't Stop" spike?

GAGA VS. KATY, ROUND TWO: Last week's pop-diva showdown, between Katy Perry's "Roar" and Lady Gaga's "Applause," has fizzled into a one-woman show. "Roar" lost 32 percent of sales in its second week (selling 392,000 downloads overall) but still maintained Number One above Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (which sold 251,000, a drop of 14 percent). "Applause" went in the opposite direction, dropping from Number Three to Number Five, selling 163,000, a loss of 25 percent. Things could be different next week – Gaga opened MTV's VMAs with "Applause," and even though Cyrus trumped her in the public-outrage department, the song is likely to get a streaming and sales boost. Also, in Thicke's case, all publicity may be good publicity, so his black-and-white-striped, Miley-grinding performance of "Blurred Lines" may re-boost the song to make it more worthy "Roar" competition.

Last week: Katy Perry and Lady Gaga Singles Duke It Out

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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