Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj didn’t even hit the charts this week, but both established a blueprint (or, you know, a pinkprint) for the fall record-buying schedule. If they sell as well as gigantic pop stars ought to sell, maybe they can reverse the persistently sad trend of 2014—album sales have been down 15 percent and track sales 13 percent for weeks.
HAPPY HITS-FROM-YESTERYEAR WEEK!: Can we pretend this week, chart-wise, doesn’t exist and skip to next week, when Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Minaj’s “Anaconda” kick in? Look at the Top 5 albums—Number One is week two of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, containing hits from the Sixties and Seventies (it sold 93,000); Number Two is NOW 51, containing warmed-over hits from 2014 (52,000, a drop of 45 percent); and Number Three is Frozen, the soundtrack that won’t die no matter how often our daughters incessantly sing “Let It Go” (43,000). The latter jumped 53 percent, largely due to an iTunes sale, which is weird, because Frozen didn’t chart on iTunes’ top albums.
AT THIS RATE, NOBODY WILL MAKE ORIGINAL ALBUMS ANYMORE: There’s one bright spot in the Top 5: The Gaslight Anthem, the Springsteen-inspired indie rockers whose Get Hurt makes its debut at Number Four, with 33,000 sales. The veteran band staved off Troye Sivan, the fresh-faced, 19-year-old YouTube marketing whiz whose five-song TRXYE EP sold 30,000 copies and hit Number Four. Sivan did even better on iTunes, landing at Number Two (the Guardians soundtrack was Number One).
“SEXY BUTTS IN A MUSIC VIDEO”—CLASSIC MARKETING STRATEGY: Speaking of “Anaconda,” Nicki Minaj’s new booty-celebrating anthem makes its debut at Number Four on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which measures Internet criteria and frequently predicts future hits. The hip-hop banger, built on a sample of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s classic “Baby’s Got Back” and shows a lot of women shaking their stuff in skimpy clothing, was a social-media phenomenon and scored 2.8 million YouTube views in a day. (It’s also a teaser for Minaj’s awesomely titled upcoming album, The Pinkprint.) Given this as-close-to-a-sure-thing-as-you-can-get hit album and Taylor Swift’s 1989, which arrives October 27th, maybe the record industry won’t have a dismal Christmas.