The countdown to Taylor Swift‘s 1989 begins here – 19 days. Can she save the record industry, or at least its 2014 holiday season? The situation is dire, at least for old-fashioned record sales. Albums remain down 14 percent and track sales 13 percent.
STAR POWER, MUCH DIMINISHED: Last week, I suggested Prince and Lady Antebellum were part of the “big-time star power” that could help kick off holiday shopping season for the record business. I guess that depends on your definition of “big-time.” Prince’s Art Official Age sold 51,000 copies and made its debut at Number Five, while Plectrumelectrum sold 26,000 and hit Number Eight. (For those of you born in 2004 or later, those are very small numbers.) Lady Antebellum’s 747 did a bit better, hitting Number Two with 74,000. And I didn’t even mention Voice judge Blake Shelton, whose Bringing Back the Sunshine is the latest mega-star project to hit Number One with itty-bitty sales figures (in this case, 101,000).
BATTLE OF THE BOOTY RESULTS = IN!: If we assume the latest sing-about-your-butt trend in pop music has finally reached its, uh, conclusion, the unquestionable winner is Meghan Trainor‘s “All About That Bass” (down 20 percent in sales this week, but still Number One, selling 202,000 downloads). And while Nicki Minaj‘s “Anaconda” has long since dropped out of the Top 10, it has to be Number Two, mostly due to process of elimination. Distant third place belongs to Jennifer Lopez‘ “Booty,” co-starring Iggy Azalea, whose mildly NSFW video has scored nearly 48 million YouTube views over the last three weeks, even though the song peaked at Number 18 and languishes today at Number 86. Apparently, people like to view this stuff for free.
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK: If you happen to be in some kind of stock market or fantasy league involving chart hits – I’m sure that exists somewhere – my suggestion would be to bid high on Maroon 5. Like every other album on the charts these days, the band’s V hasn’t sold especially well, but the new video for “Animals” grabbed more than 17 million YouTube views in a single week and launched from Number 21 to Number Five on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart, selling 115,000 downloads, a rise of 121 percent. Maroon 5 commands the power of television, given frontman Adam Levine‘s “The Voice” prominence and the band’s performance last weekend on Saturday Night Live – all of which contributed to V‘s rise from Number Nine to Number Seven, with sales of 31,000.