The Frozen soundtrack continues to dominate the charts, but one day, we may look back at it as a symbol of the year music sales completely self-destructed after years of pain. Album sales are down 16 percent so far this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while track sales are down 12 percent. Maybe Iggy Azalea or Future will eventually take off — my money’s on Iggy more than Future — but they’d have to do it in a big way to rescue the record business.
“IGGY VS. FUTURE” DOESN’T HAVE QUITE THE SAME RING AS “50 VS. KANYE”: This is the first week of 2014 when I’m genuinely excited about more than one new release — Future’s Honest, one of the year’s best hip-hop albums, and Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic, which isn’t as great but comes from an intriguing new star. I feel like both albums, had they come out 10 or 15 years ago, would have been huge, but instead, Honest sells an anemic 53,000 copies and The New Classic sells 52,000. They’re Number Two and Number Three on the Billboard album chart — behind the Frozen soundtrack, of course, which sold 115,000. Interestingly, Iggy hit Number One and Future Number Two in iTunes’ Top Albums this week. (Frozen dipped to Number Four.)
WHY YOUR MONEY SHOULD BE ON IGGY’S “FANCY”: Speaking of Iggy Azalea singles, the Australian rapper/singer’s “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, jumped from Number 12 to Number 6 on Billboard‘s digital-songs chart. It sold 108,000, an increase of 29 percent in a gloomy post-Easter week where every other single in the Top 10 lost significant sales, beginning with Pharrell’s “Happy” (at 208,000, it’s down 24 percent). “Fancy” has more than 22 million YouTube views and 8.4 million Spotify streams, has jumped from Number 35 to Number 17 on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart and is Number Two on Shazam’s latest most-clicked chart. That’s good chart action! Also, Azalea’s guest appearance on Ariana Grande’s “Problem” appears to be taking off.
BIG ON ITUNES, SMALL ON TELEVISION — WEIRD FOR A TV SHOW: I can’t figure out why last week’s “Nashville: On the Record,” a live ABC special starring the cast of the soapy country-music show, had dismal TV ratings (4.17 rating, fewer than a CSI rerun), while its soundtrack seems to be dominating iTunes this week. Maybe publicity from the accompanying tour, which sold out three shows in big cities, is starting to kick in. Or maybe people would rather hear these songs, performed by the actors, rather than view them. Anyway, the album hit Number Three on iTunes’ Top Songs, although it sold just 18,000 copies overall and was Number Eight on Billboard.