WINNER OF THE WEEK: Adele. Remember last week, when we suggested after a day’s worth of data that the only star receiving a post-Grammy sales bump was Whitney Houston? Turns out our estimates were on the conservative side! Adele dramatically eclipsed an average week, selling a ridiculous 730,000 copies of 21, the most since it came out a year ago. It’s also the biggest Grammy bump of the past 21 years, easily outdoing Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me (621,000 in 2003) and Carlos Santana’s Supernatural (583,000 in 2000). Plus, the album has sold more than 2 million downloads on iTunes, making it the first to hit that mark, and more than 7 million overall. Which leads us to wonder how massive Adele would be if the record industry hadn’t collapsed over the past decade. Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill sold 16 million after its release in 1995, and we could easily imagine an alternate universe where 21 gets up to Thriller territory. Oh, and Adele’s first album, 19, shot up to Number Four with 87,000 sales.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Chris Brown. For obvious reasons – “DON’T ABUSE WOMEN” being the major one. First, the man who punched Rihanna in the eye before the 2009 Grammys gets not one but two showcase slots on the most prominent awards show in years, then his (female) fans respond by inexplicably doing this. We’ll refrain from blaming the victim, although, as the New York Times opined, it seems like marketing forces were far more at play in these collaborations than personal ethics and morality. Rihanna collaborated with her scumbag-of-an-ex-boyfriend on two songs, a remix of her own “Birthday Cake,” from 2011’s Talk That Talk, and a remix of Brown’s new single, “Turn Up the Music.” It’s too early to gauge sales, since they haven’t landed yet on Billboard or BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, but Rihanna’s remix is up to about 1.4 million YouTube views. Brown’s remix is harder to estimate – the YouTube posts are all over the place.
MORE GRAMMY BUMPS: More than 39 million viewers tuned in February 12th to watch the Grammy Awards tribute to Whitney Houston, who died at 48 the previous day, and came away intrigued by a bunch of new albums – particularly Adele’s 21, as mentioned. In addition, Bruno Mars, whose pompadoured performance was a low-key broadcast highlight, sold 38,000 copies last week of his Doo-Wops & Hooligans album, which hit Number Eight on Billboard’s album charts, an increase of 22 spots; the Civil Wars, the folk-country duo that made a charming joke about the McCartney kid from Liverpool being its opening act, sold 36,000, jumping from Number 41 to Number 10; and the 2012 Grammy nominees album had 85,000 sales, rising from Number Eight to Number Five. Other sales gains, for albums and digital songs, came from winners and performers Coldplay, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, Foo Fighters, Mumford and Sons, Taylor Swift, Bon Iver and Skrillex. As for Houston, the late pop megastar wound up with seven albums on the charts, notably Whitney – The Greatest Hits, which had 175,000 sales and finished at Number Two. Because it was an old-school sales week, we’ll use an old-school cliché: The rising tide lifted all the boats.
LAST WEEK: Van Halen Jump Ahead