WINNER OF THE WEEK: Taylor Swift. Our 10-year-old daughter has been replaying Swift's new single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," repeatedly on YouTube for the past week, and it's one of those songs that is so catchy, even the throwaway lines ("like, ever") get stuck in your head. It sold 623,000 digital singles in its first week, beating Ke$ha's record for a female artist and barely missing Flo Rida's "Right Round" record of 636,000. (Of course, "Right Round" featured Ke$ha, so she's still the queen.) The single, whose perfunctory lyric video has 5.7 million YouTube views, should set up Swift's Red album (due October 22nd) as the blockbuster to beat in the fourth quarter.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Number One albums. All they do is drop. Last week's chart-topper, NOW 43, falls to Number Two with a 32-percent sales decline (to 75,000 copies). The previous week's Number One, Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't, lost 27 percent in sales (43,000 copies) this week after sliding 73 percent (60,000 copies) the week before. And earlier this month, Nas' Life Is Good lost 38 percent of sales in its second week, with 45,000 copies. Maybe 2 Chainz's Based on a T.R.U. Story can break the trend? The rapper's debut is Number One this week with 147,000 sales, more than Billboard predicted.
It's perhaps no coincidence that as of August 1st, overall album sales were down three percent compared to the same period in 2011; that figure increased to four percent this week. We were feeling bullish about fourth-quarter releases a few weeks ago, but the metrics in August suddenly aren't looking good – maybe, as mentioned, Taylor Swift can pull an Adele with Red.
MORE ON MUMFORD: Last week, Mumford & Sons' Babel hit Number One on iTunes' album charts – and it isn't even out until September 24th. We can't figure out if the hype has died down or heated up since then. The album dropped to Number Three on iTunes, below 2 Chainz and Fun.'s Some Nights, and its new single "I Will Wait" dropped 34 percent in sales, with 102,000 copies, from Number Four to Number 10 on Billboard's digital songs chart. But the video has 2.8 million YouTube views since its August 7th release, and the hype is enough to push the band's breakthrough LP Sigh No More back onto the iTunes album chart, at Number 10. We were at first predicting a giant holiday season for Babel, but maybe it will more like a mini-giant.
LAST WEEK: Mumford & Sons Fans Can't 'Wait' for 'Babel'