REMEMBER WHEN THERE WERE 10 OR 20 TAYLOR SWIFTS EVERY YEAR?: There is Taylor Swift, and there is everybody else. Adele, Beyonce and the Frozen soundtrack have managed to sell a lot of albums, but only Swift’s 1989 is a reminder of the old days — according to Billboard, it’s the first to hit more than 200,000 sales in each of its first nine weeks since Usher’s Confessions in 2004. This week, the number is 326,000 copies, or 430,000 “equivalent units,” which is newfangled chart shorthand for including track sales and streaming data. Because 1989 is not streaming via Spotify or others, we can assume much of this number comes from singles — “Blank Space” is iTunes’ Number One song this week, and “Shake It Off” is Number Seven.
IN THE NEXT VIDEO, HE COULD POSSIBLY EVEN DO SOMETHING!: If I were J. Cole, I’d rush out a hot video to restart momentum for the strong 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which made its debut at Number One, then, like almost every non-Taylor Swift album this year, plunged in its second and third weeks. The album’s first video, “Apparently,” just Cole and a blue background, has drawn 6.8 million YouTube views since it came out earlier this month. And the album itself sold 104,000 copies, a decrease of 12 percent and a drop from Number Four to Number Six. It moved 120,000 “units.”
SO MUCH FOR BEYONCE-STYLE END-OF-YEAR SURPRISES: It’s a sloooooow end-of-year week for new releases — no debut sold more than Fabolous’ The Young OG Project, and that was only 71,000 units and Number 12 on the charts. Everything else is stagnant. Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint drops 47 percent in sales, with 105,000 copies and 156,000 “units,” sticking at Number Two, while Pentatonix’ That’s Christmas To Me, which clearly wins the holiday-album sweepstakes, remains at Number Three with 121,000 sales, a drop of 41 percent, and 131,000 units. This leaves an opening for some revived titles, particularly the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, which jumped 30 percent with 80,000 albums sold and going from Number 16 to Number Nine.