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Beatles Lead Holiday Sales Surge

Fab Four stays on top as Christmas approaches

If last week’s music sales are any indication, there should be few surprises under the tree next Monday. The Beatles led a holiday-fed sales surge that kept them atop the SoundScan’s sales chart for the second week as 1 moved an astounding 823,587 units over the past week, a spike of more than 150,000 copies sold. Since its Nov. 14 release, 1 has managed to make a mockery of the music industry’s new releases by younger artists, as the Beatles’ collection of No. 1 hits has only shown a sales decrease during one week of its release (the week ending Dec. 7). To date, 1 has moved 3,358,380 copies, making it the seventh best selling release of 2000, and trailing the Backstreet Boys Black & Blue by a mere 36,347 copies. Not bad for a foursome that broke up three decades ago.

Though the Fab Four pulled several lengths ahead of the pack during the past week, sales across the board soared among the year’s bestsellers. The top six slots (Beatles, BSBs, Now That’s What I Call Music!, Creed, Britney Spears and Tim McGraw<) remained static, with Shaggy’s Hotshot crashing into the Top Ten at No. 7 in its nineteenth week of release, nudging the Baha Men’s Who Let the Dogs Out out of the Top Ten after a one-week visit.

Sales were so strong two weeks before Christmas that thirty-two albums managed to sell more than 100,000 copies. Need a sense of scale? In the week ending August 17, De La Soul’s Art Official Intelligence debuted at No. 9 with sales of 81,376. How else to explain the week’s highest debut, West Coast rap’s latest star-in-the-making, Xzibit’s Restless moving a very impressive 204,870 copies, but only landing at No. 14, a number just shy of the debut sales for LL Cool J’s G.O.A.T. (208,649 copies sold) and Radiohead’s Kid A (207,393 copies), both of which debuted at No. 1. Such is the nature of the void created by shoppers seeking familiar products with which to stuff stockings. Tool’s “box set” Salival and a various artists compilation from The Source magazine provided the week’s only other debuts within the Top 100.

In a week full of winners, the losers were hard to find; only fifteen albums in the Top 100 failed to cash in on the holiday buying frenzy. One has to look all the way down to K-Ci and Jojo’s X at No. 33 for the first sign of a dip in sales. Jay-Z saw a sales increase for his The Dynasty, but his protégé Memphis Bleek wasn’t so lucky, as his sophomore release, The Understanding saw its sales topple by a third as it fell from No. 16 to No. 39.

With less than a week left for holiday shoppers, don’t expect much new blood on next week’s charts. Though Snoop Dogg’s Tha Last Meal comes equipped with Dre’s Midas touch, that golden formula wasn’t enough to help Xzibit find the Top Ten and the solid sellers from the past twelve months show no signs of slowing down. So hang on to that receipt for 1, Black & Blue, Oops! or Human Clay . . . there’s a good chance he/she already has it.

This week’s Top 10: The Beatles’ 1 (823,587 copies sold); Backstreet Boys’ Black & Blue (566,216); Now That’s What I Call Music! 5 (472,558); Creed’s Human Clay (375,511); Britney Spears’ Oops! . . . I Did It Again (271,534); Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits (266,039); Shaggy’s Hotshot (264,423); Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water (258,554); ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached (244,652) and Charlotte Church’s Dream a Dream (236,884).


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