Good job, Black Friday! Album sales jumped 14 percent compared to the same week in 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan, thanks to a bona fide blockbuster (One Direction's Midnight Memories) and $6.99 sales (for Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson and others). Will it be enough to salvage the record industry's year? Sadly, I don't think so. Album sales were still down eight percent compared to 2012, and tracks were down four percent.
WHY DOESN'T EVERY ALBUM COME OUT BLACK FRIDAY WEEK?: One Direction's Midnight Memories, a blockbuster release from a superstar pop band that is unexpectedly rocking, sold 546,000 copies in its debut week. What's more, albums with flagging sales have abruptly returned to health – Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 dropped from Number One to Number Two, but its sales increased 65 percent, to 199,000; the Robertsons' Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas holds at Number Four, gaining 127 percent, to 137,000; Katy Perry's Prism jumps from Number 11 to Number Five, an increase of 252 percent, to 136,000; and Clarkson's Wrapped In Red's boost was 195 percent, from Number Nine to Number Six, selling 131,000. Even Lady Gaga's Artpop went up 154 percent, from Number Eight to Number Seven, selling 116,000. Some of these albums, including Prism, the Robertsons and Clarkson, benefitted from Walmart, Target and Amazon MP3 Black Friday deals.
BLONDE HIGHLIGHTS: Britney Spears' Britney Jean, officially out yesterday after a week of streaming on iTunes, is getting some savage reviews, although I sort of liked it, as did our own Rob Sheffield. Some speculate the album could flop, despite a combined 650,000-plus sales for singles "Work Bitch" and "Perfume." It's hard to predict at this point, although I'd note that pre-release sales haven't pushed Britney Jean onto iTunes' top-10-albums list, as they did Justin Timberlake and Eminem earlier this year. But don't give up on Britney: She stars in an E! documentary December 22nd, and begins a two-year Planet Hollywood residency in Las Vegas at the end of this month.
GOOD-BYE MILEY, HELLO PITBULL: Holiday shopping season has kicked in for the singles chart as well. Pitbull's "Timber," co-starring Ke$ha, sold 237,000 (a jump of 43 percent) and hit Number One. It leapfrogged Eminem's "The Monster," co-starring Rihanna, which sold 231,000, dropping four percent. For the rest of the year, these two singles and this week's Number Three, A Great Big World's "Say Something" (which went from Number Six to Number Three, selling 197,000, a boost of 63 percent), and maybe some new release by One Direction, Lady Gaga and a surprise or two, are likely to compete for dominance on the singles chart.
Last week: Eminem Scrambles Back to the Top