The Big News: Despite giving away their album practically for free in October, Radiohead still managed to muster enough sales to claim the top spot on the Billboard chart, as the finally on-CD-and-in-stores In Rainbows sold 122,323 copies to hit Number One. Alicia Keys’ As I Am stayed strong at two, selling only 10,000 copies less than Radiohead. Last week’s top-seller, Mary J. Blige‘s Growing Pains, fell to third place with 89,084. While the Radiohead numbers seem weak — their Hail to the Thief sold 300,000 copies when it debuted in 2004 — the total doesn’t factor in the number of limited-edition discboxes or “pay-what-you-want” download purchases.
Debuts: You’d think In Rainbows would be the big debut, but because 8,500 street date-breaking copies were sold the week before, the album actually debuted (illegally) at 156 last week. The Juno soundtrack, backboned by the Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson, was the top-ranked debut, coming in at number eight with 37,936 copies sold.
Last Week’s Heroes: After ruling the chart landscape at the end of 2007, Josh Groban‘s Noel submarined, falling to the fifty-eighth spot this week. The rest of last week’s top ten remained the same, with only the Hannah Montana 2 soundtrack dropping out to make room for Juno. Save for the debuts, all the albums in the top thirty suffered a decrease in sales as the annual post-holiday malaise gets underway.