On the Charts: How About the Return of Boy Bands! - Rolling Stone
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On the Charts: How About the Return of Boy Bands!

Plus: Katy Perry on the decline?

The Wanted

The Wanted

Chuff Media/Geffen Records

WINNER OF THE WEEK: The Wanted. We could just keep printing Adele Adele Adele Adele Adele in this space, or perhaps deal yet again with Whitney Houston’s morbid posthumous sales, but let’s take a break for something fresh: the return of boy bands! The Wanted, a quintet of hunky Irish-British dudes who sing romantic party music, have logged more than 36 million YouTube views since their babes-at-the-club video “Glad You Came” arrived last August. If an American crossover is going to happen, this seems to be the week: The single sold 206,000 copies and jumped from Number Three to Number Two on Billboard’s digital-songs chart, and (most likely due to those YouTube views) it climbed 23 notches, to Number Seven, on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Katy Perry. Hey, it’s a slow week! Not many losers or winners. But we may be starting to see the descent of Singles Queen Perry, who has turned just about everything since her 2010 album Teenage Dream came out into sales goodness. Her latest single, “Part of Me,” which she premiered during the Grammy Awards two weeks ago, is a bit of a departure, a sad ballad that many assumed had to do with her ex-husband Russell Brand but actually was written in 2010. Interestingly, “Part of Me” isn’t tied to any album release – Perry said recently she hasn’t yet gone into the studio to record new material – so she’s continuing her strategy of hanging around the singles chart for months at a time. The problem is that “Part of Me” sold just 124,000 digital singles this week, a drop of 24 percent, from Number Four to Number Seven.

AND NOW A BREAK FOR THE BIZ: Album sales increased in 2011 for the first time since 2004, by 1.3 percent, according to Nielsen Soundscan, and that trend seems to be continuing this year. Track sales are up 7 percent, compared to the same time in 2011, and album sales are up less than 1 percent. Those are happy numbers for the record business, plagued for more than a decade by piracy and a shift from high-profit CDs to low-profit digital tracks. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Adele’s 21 inevitably loses its momentum and drops off the charts. (“Rumour Has It,” the latest single from the album, is anemic so far, lingering at Number 40 on the Ultimate Chart, although that may be due to competition from Adele’s Grammy-boosted singles, like Number Five “Set Fire to the Rain,” Number Eight “Rolling In the Deep” and Number Nine “Someone Like You.”) Every label, not just Adele’s own XL and Sony, should be paying royalties to the world’s biggest pop star for propping up the business this long.

Last week: How Do You Spell Fun.?


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