WINNER OF THE WEEK: The Black Keys. After withdrawing their new album, El Camino, from newfangled streaming services such as Spotify, the band sold 206,000 copies in their first week. Did the (non-)move contribute to sales? Hard to prove either way. A Number Two showing is the best in their career – and they place behind Michael Buble's unkillable Christmas – but we wonder if the band is still the kind that needs a fresh introduction in order to snag as many new listeners as possible. The album's lead YouTube video, "Lonely Boy," is at slightly less than four million views; compare this to Nickelback's first single, which racked up 39 million in even less time. Spotify is perfect for creating that sort of new interest. Of course, we're certain that the Keys' people feel they no longer need any introduction: the bluesy duo graduates to arenas in their tour next March.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: If Glee hasn't already jumped the shark on television (Time's critic, James Poniewozik, tweeted of this week's episode: "[Audible sigh] #notthegoodkindofaudiblesigh"), the Fox song-and-dance show may be doing so on the charts. Its Glee: The Music, Season 3: Volume 7 collection sold just 58,000 copies, the lowest for a Glee debut and the franchise's lowest showing ever, save for a Rocky Horror EP and a 3D Concert Movie soundtrack. Let's be honest, those didn't seem like blockbusters. The show's singles aren't storming up the charts, either: "Perfect" (which isn't on that album but is from the same season) stalled at Number 35 on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart of online activity.
WINNER OF ALL 52 WEEKS: Adele. Billboard just ranked the vocally recovering British chanteuse Number One in three categories: best seller in albums (for 21) and singles (for "Rolling in the Deep") plus top artist overall. We happened to speak recently with Adele's manager, Jonathan Dickins, and he reacted thusly to her dominant year: "It's been just an amazing and a surreal experience all in one... It doesn't change anything. I honestly don't think Adele is any different now than she was when I first met her. I don't think it'd be any different if she sold 20,000 records." What's extraordinary is that Adele is still on the charts, selling 187,000 copies in a slow post-post-Black Friday week, and "Someone Like You" clings to Number 10 on the Billboard singles chart and Number Five on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart.