WINNER OF THE WEEK: Fantasia. With her pedigree as a 2004 American Idol winner, Fantasia commands more gold-standard publicity than most above-average R&B singers. (Her album Side Effects of You has exactly one great track: the swinging, old-school-soul "Get It Right.") Although Side Effects made its debut with just 91,000 copies, Number Two after Michael Buble's To Be Loved, she had enough juice to perform "Lose to Win" on alma mater Idol a few weeks ago and The View yesterday. Today, the Vevo video is up to 1.5 million views, although it has yet to place on any of the singles charts, including Billboard's Hot 100, iTunes' Top Songs or the Ultimate Chart. ("Lose to Win" did hit Number Four on the Urban Adult Airplay chart.) Interestingly, Side Effects of You was just Number Four on iTunes' Top Albums (Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience and Phoenix's new Bankrupt! finished second and third to Buble on this chart), suggesting a large part of Fantasia's fan base still buys CDs.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: New hip-hop albums. I've been cracking on rock bands for almost two years about their tendency to make splashy chart debuts, then tumble in subsequent weeks. (It happened again for Fall About Boy – Save Rock and Roll dropped 76 percent in sales after last week's Number One; it sold 36,000 and fell to Number Five this week.) But hip-hop stars are equally as bad. Lil Wayne's I Am Not a Human Being II (underrated!) and Tyler, the Creator's Wolf (rated just about right!) hit the high parts of the Top 10 (but quickly disappeared) this year, and last week's number two, Kid Cudi's Indicud dropped 77 percent in sales, with 32,000 copies, landing at number eight. Also not inspiring confidence: will.i.am's #willpower, which made its debut at number nine, selling 29,000. Where are the Black Eyed Peas when we need them?
MAYBE NOT SO BANKRUPT: Fantasia's Side Effects of You did better on the Billboard chart than on iTunes this week, but French alt-rock band Phoenix's Bankrupt! pulled off the reverse. Its official album-sales tally this week was 50,000, enough for Number Four on the old-school record chart, but it was Number Three on iTunes. Why? Similar to Justin Timberlake's online marketing plan earlier this year, the band streamed Bankrupt! on iTunes a week before it went up for sale last Tuesday, building buzz and spurring first-week sales and, probably soon, robust live business. Other smart publicity moves by Phoenix, signed to Glassnote Music, home of the equally savvy Mumford & Sons: securing a prominent slot at Coachella, bringing on R. Kelly as an unexpected guest star and performing on Saturday Night Live early last month.
Last week: Can Fall Out Boy 'Save Rock and Roll'?