WINNER OF THE WEEK: The Beastie Boys haven’t released a real studio album since 2004, but it’s nice to find the veteran New York rappers back on the charts with Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. They hit Number Two this week, with 128,000 sales – not as much as the previous To the 5 Boroughs, which opened with 360,000, but as the B-Boys might respond: “I got franks and pork and beans – always bust the new routines.” Or something to that effect. In any case, they couldn’t crack Adele’s 21 juggernaut, as it racked up another 150,000 sales, grabbing Number One for a seventh straight week. Plus, her single “Rolling In the Deep” finally reached the top spot on Billboard‘s digital-tracks chart, with 294,000 sales. Another interesting album debut: Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues, Number Four, 91,000 copies.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: J. Lo. We acknowledge that in 2011’s record business, nobody’s selling a gazillion albums in the first week anymore, with the possible exceptions of Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. And Jennifer Lopez deserves credit for hitting Number Five with her new Love? this week. But come on, J. Lo – 83,000 copies? When you have the world’s best music-marketing platform at your command – 18 million weekly American Idol viewers? It’s not like Lopez is a rookie – she’s sold 11 million albums, according to the RIAA, including 4 million of 2000’s J. Lo and 3 million of 1999’s On the 6. And it’s not like she’s a rusty dinosaur – her new single with guest rapper Pitbull, “On the Floor,” is Number Six on iTunes this week, Number Four on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart and Number Four on Billboard‘s singles chart. Maybe her album just isn’t strong enough to take off commercially. Maybe she’s content with her TV money and can’t be bothered with boring pop-star decisions like, say, hiring Dr. Luke.
WINNER OF THE WEEK, PART II: The record business. For this week and most of this year, anyhow. Album sales so far in 2011 are down two percent, which is not exactly a recovery, but last year at this time, they were down 10 percent, according to Billboard. Why? One music-business source credits the recent shut-down of LimeWire, the long-running peer-to-peer file-sharing service declared illegal in U.S. court a year ago. (Check out LimeWire.com for a kind of scary “stop piracy!” demand in caps, bold and italics.) “I’m not saying direct correlation [between LimeWire’s closing and better sales], but there’s got to be something there,” our source says. “It’s not like there was a rush of hit artists from every [record] company that did it.” We’re somewhat dubious of this point — piracy is alive and well via other sources, such as Frostwire and u-Torrent. Still – why just a two percent drop in sales this year as opposed to 10 last year? Can we give Adele the credit? Guesses welcome.
LAST WEEK: Katy Perry Proves She’s Got Staying Power