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On the Charts: The Civil Wars Divide and Conquer

On deck: Gaga and Katy Perry promise late-summer bump

Joy Williams and John Paul White of the Civil Wars perform in London.
Annabel Staff/Redferns via Getty Images
August 14, 2013 2:45 PM ET

Have I mentioned lately that sales are slow? Albums are down six percent compared to 2012 and tracks are down three percent. But watch this space next week: Lady Gaga's "Applause" and Katy Perry's "Roar" just went on sale, and the word "showdown" has been thrown around.

CHART RIDDLE OF THE WEEK: Here's a thought experiment: If singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White had stayed together, rather than taking a break due to "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition," would the Civil Wars have sold more copies of their new album, The Civil Wars, in its debut week? The duo's first-ever Number One album hit 116,000 copies – not bad at all. But maybe things could be even better. The creative breakup means the band is not touring and only Williams is giving interviews, so that's a lot of missed promotional opportunity. Also, the band's video for "The One That Got Away" has just 762,000 views since it came out in June. Maybe if they'd filmed all the internal discord and irreconcilable differences, the Wars could have a more dramatic video.

Video Playlist: The Civil Wars at Rolling Stone

DROPS OF THE WEEK: Early August is not the time to put out a new album if you want to sell many copies many weeks in a row. As predicted, Five Finger Death Punch lost serious ground on the charts after The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 1, hit Number Two last week. Sales dropped 69 percent, to 35,000 and Number Eight, a steep loss even by modern pathetic-second-week-for-almost-everybody standards. Also Week-Two weak was Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines album, down 63 percent in sales, with 65,000, and falling from Number One to Number Three. Even Jay Z's Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail, the summer's biggest superstar blockbuster, dropped 22 percent, selling 48,000 copies and falling from Number Three to Number Four.

COULD EDM BE HITTING THE CHARTS FOR GOOD?: Avicii's "Wake Me Up" is the first post-Daft Punk dance-music single to hit the Top 10, which perhaps means the genre's latest boom has finally leaped from festivals and Vegas clubs to the radio. Until Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (which is number seven this week on Billboard's Digital Songs chart, selling 113,000 copies) became one of the summer's biggest singles, EDM had a sketchy chart record. Aside from David Guetta, Calvin Harris and that one Swedish House Mafia track, none of the artists who help the Electric Daisy Carnival annually draw 300,000 fans have made much chart impact. That could be changing.

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