WINNER OF THE WEEK: Blue Ivy Carter. For obvious reasons. But also because the new Princess of Pop, daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, makes her recorded debut, gurgling on the hip-hop star’s happy, gospel-ish and clearly rushed “Glory” (the “feat. B.I.C.” after Jay-Z’s name is a nice touch). Released January 9th, it was too late to make this week’s charts and isn’t on sale via iTunes. Nonetheless, the most popular version of the video, which arrived on Jay-Z’s website two days after the Exalted One’s birth, is up to 1.4 million YouTube views. That’s probably not enough to boost the song into pop-hit territory, but it’s a nice little publicity boost for both singers during an (understandably) inactive time in their careers. Isn’t that what children are for?
LOSER OF THE WEEK: The week itself. Not too surprising. Music fans stopped using their iTunes holiday gift cards and returned to the office or college. Also, Michael Bublé’s Christmas, which ranked Number Two to Adele in 2011 sales, finally screeched to a halt. (Any freaks out there buy that thing during the first week in January?) From last week to this week, album sales dropped 25 percent, from 7.71 million to 5.80 million, according to Billboard, and track sales dropped 29 percent. Still, overall record-business optimism continues – album sales increased in 2011 by 1.3 percent, and first-week 2012 sales beat first-week 2011 sales by 7 percent. That’s good news for the industry, although labels better figure out what to do, fast, when Adele’s 21 finally drops off the charts. (It’s at Number One for 15 straight weeks – the most since the Titanic soundtrack in 1998, and we sincerely apologize for putting that song back in your head.)
THE YEAR OF MRAZ (SO FAR): Taking advantage of the slowest week of the year, genteel singer-songwriter Jason Mraz released his new “I Won’t Give Up” on iTunes and immediately hit Number One. (Adele’s undead 21 album, and its latest single “Set Fire to the Rain,” were a mere Number Two on Apple’s songs chart.) A sentimental video full of lyrics printed on envelopes (“how old is your soul?”) helped it rack up 229,000 sales in its first week, enough for Number One on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart. Plus, it hit 2.4 million YouTube views in a little more than a week – not bad for early January.