WINNER OF THE WEEK: Bruce Springsteen. The promotional strategy for his last few albums has been to flood the market – this time around, he’s been streaming music online, opening the Grammys and covering Rolling Stone, and he’ll be keynote-speaking tomorrow at South by Southwest, the prestigious music-business festival in Austin, Texas. So far, it’s paid off. Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball LP sold 196,000 copies in its first week and hit Number One on the Billboard album chart, ending Adele’s 23-week run at the top. The not-so-good news is the same thing that’s plagued rock stars from Van Halen to Coldplay – Springsteen’s new singles, even the Grammy-opening “We Take Care of Our Own,” are nowhere to be found on the charts. They’re not even on the Ultimate Chart’s Top 100, which is likely due to the fact that his single’s YouTube views (a little more than 1.5 million total, if we’re rounding up all the versions correctly) aren’t even close to reaching Rihanna or Katy Perry levels.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Albums that were not on sale by anyone other than Springsteen and Adele. Google Play and AmazonMP3 sold some albums for 25 cents last week, and Billboard’s chart guru Keith Caulfield calls the new Top 10 “a bit wonky” due to these slashes. The NOW 41 compilation was the primary beneficiary, jumping 235 percent with 152,000 in sales from Number Five to Number Four. Other crazy sales surges include Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto from Number 29 to Number Five, and Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV from Number 37 to Number Eight. What would a non-wonky chart have looked like? Check out iTunes’ top albums: Luke Bryan’s Spring Break 4 . . . . Suntan City, the Project X soundtrack, Fun.’s Some Nights, Gotye’s Making Mirrors and Andrew Bird’s Break It Yourself. Oh, and remember our screed last week about the return of boy bands? Watch out for teen pied pipers One Direction, whose Up All Night hits Number Nine this week.
WHERE THE CHARTS ARE GOING: To account for what may well be the future of the record business, Billboard is launching an On-Demand Songs chart that will tally up the top tracks streamed on services like Spotify, MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody. Interesting, but not earth-shaking, right? Well, for chart obsessives the big news is that Billboard’s old-fashioned Hot 100 singles chart will also incorporate streaming data into its rankings. Nobody’s saying what the formula will be, but presumably it will no longer be enough for Adele to sell 200,000 copies of “Rolling In the Deep” in order to top the chart; she’ll also have to make a good showing on Spotify and the rest. It’s hard to say how this will play out until the new charts are published, but here are Spotify’s Top Five tracks as of about noon EST on Thursday: Fun.’s “We Are Young” (which already topped the Hot 100 last week), Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” The Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” Tyga’s “Rack City” and Drake’s “Take Care.”