LET THERE BE ROCK (BUT NOT ON SPOTIFY): I’d say AC/DC is following Taylor Swift‘s lead in keeping its new Rock or Bust (and its entire catalog, for that matter) far away from Spotify, but the hard-rock veterans have been stiff-arming digital-music services for years. Black Ice sold 784,000 copies in its first week in 2008 exclusively at Walmart and via the band’s website. This time, AC/DC finally enabled iTunes, where Rock or Bust was the week’s fourth-best-selling album; it sold 172,000, or 174,000 “units” if you use Billboard‘s newfangled formula of streaming and track-equivalent albums. It hit Number Three, after Swift’s 1989 (274,000 units) and Pentatonix’ That’s Christmas to Me (221,000).
SADLY, MENZEL’S RETRO CRUST-PUNK FOLLOW-UP TO FROZEN HAS YET TO MATERIALIZE: Another couple of Christmas-album horses have pulled up in the outside lanes to challenge Pentatonix’ holiday dominance. Frozen star Idina Menzel’s Holiday Wishes sold 63,000 copies (or 66,000 units) this week, boosting the album of “Silent Night,” “White Christmas” and other classics from Number 13 to Number Six. Michael Buble’s Christmas sold 66,000 units and jumped from Number 15 to Number Seven. Will Pentatonix be able to hold off the competition? Keep watching this space!
INTERESTING CHOICE OF MACHINE TO RAGE AGAINST: In other chart news involving performers blocking the future of their own industry, Garth Brooks‘ Man Against Machine managed to rise from Number 11 to Number Eight, selling 57,000 copies despite not being available on any streaming service or digital store (other than his own Ghost Tunes). People like Swift and country star Jason Aldean, who’ve kept their recent releases away from Spotify, have strategic reasons for doing so. Brooks is just a Luddite — he recently called YouTube “the devil.”