WINNER OF THE WEEK: Holiday shoppers. With Black Friday a week and a half away, the fourth quarter’s blockbuster albums are clicking into place – Ne-Yo’s R.E.D. shows up at Number Four, selling 66,000 copies, and One Direction’s Take Me Home hits Number Two on iTunes as a pre-order, since it didn’t come out until yesterday. (R.E.D. is not to be confused with Red by Taylor Swift, which hit Number One for a third straight week and sold 196,000. What is it with all this red? Is everybody angry, or do they just really like Republican-leaning states?) Still to come: Christina Aguilera’s Lotus (yesterday), Rihanna’s Unapologetic and Pitbull’s Global Warming (next Monday) and Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire and Ke$ha’s Warrior (December 4th). It’s unlikely any of these will pull in Adele or Taylor Swift numbers, but they should be strong through 2013.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: The music business’ last 11 years. Here’s a striking piece of data: Aerosmith’s new Music From Another Dimension! had a nice showing on the charts this week, hitting Number Five and selling 63,000 copies. In 2001, when the band put out its last album of original songs, Just Push Play sold 240,000. Have 177,000 people decided they no longer like Aerosmith since 2001? (That is possible, as the band’s 2001 tour sold 17,000 tickets per show and its 2009 tour sold 12,000, according to Pollstar.) Or is Music From Another Dimension! that much weaker than Just Push Play? (Let’s say neither is Rocks.) No, most likely, even the biggest rock bands have 77 percent less sales power than they did 11 years ago, thanks to changes in radio and the record business.
MAYBE THE SKY ISN’T FALLING: Last week I ripped Adele’s James Bond theme “Skyfall” for plummeting down the charts. The track has a much brighter outlook this week now that the Bond movie has actually arrived in theatres – it sold 91,000 copies, an increase of 66 percent, and jumped from Number 25 to Number 10 on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart (and also hit Number 10 on iTunes). It has also logged more than 57 million YouTube views since it showed up October 4th. And it proves a lesson that never seems to get through my thick skull: never bet against Adele.