Because record-company calendars go like this — blah blah blah VALENTINE’S DAY, blah blah SUMMER blah BACK TO SCHOOL blah blah HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON — we’re almost at the end of the year, sales-wise. And album sales are still down 14 percent (that’s a tiny tick upwards compared to last week!) and tracks are down 13 percent. Can Taylor Swift move the needle next month and remind us streaming hasn’t killed sales forever? We’ll see.
SERIOUSLY, HAVE WE RUN OUT OF ALBUM TITLES?: Moving beyond Barbra Streisand‘s Number One album (196,000 copies), Chris Brown is Number Two on the charts with 146,000 sales. His album is called X, with a capital letter, as opposed to the smaller-case x Ed Sheeran launched earlier this year. Although the R&B star carries baggage due to his treatment of former girlfriend Rihanna, he maintains a decent sales career — 2011’s F.A.M.E. sold 270,000 copies in its first week, 2012’s Fortune sold 135,000 and all six of his albums have been Top 10. September thus far has been jammed with star power, given new albums by Maroon 5, Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Tim McGraw and Streisand, and low sales.
STRAIGHT OUT OF SOMEWHERE: I declared last week’s Number One album, Lecrae’s Anomaly, to have appeared “out of nowhere.” Lecrae had previously hit Number Three and won a Grammy and a reader tweeted: “That, to me, doesn’t seem like ‘from nowhere.'” I responded how Lecrae was certainly a nobody compared to chart powerhouses like Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift. But this reader has a point — Christian music stars are often ghettoized, labeled as niche artists at best, just because they happen to be open about their spirituality. Lecrae did plunge in his second week, from Number One to Number Eight, a decrease of 65 percent, with sales of just 31,000 — but that’s true of just about every star on the charts these days.
TAYLOR SWIFT WATCH: Taylor Swift’s upcoming album 1989 is due October 27th, and all signs point to it being a blockbuster. The first single, “Shake It Off,” remains Number One on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart, selling 294,000 downloads this week, a drop of 5 percent. Swift appeared on the cover of a certain major magazine and has declared this will be her first pure pop album as opposed to pretending she’s still operating in the country-music business. If 1989 doesn’t do huge numbers in its first week — at least 700,000 or 800,000 would be a reasonable estimate — and stick to the charts after that, record sales really are dead.