Tom Petty Scores First Number One Album in 38-Year Career - Rolling Stone
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Tom Petty Scores First Number One Album in 38-Year Career

Eric Clapton, Jenny Lewis and Shawn Mendes also post big sales weeks

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Tom Petty

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Music-business quiz time! Album sales are down _____ percent. Track sales are down _____ percent. If you answered the same depressing numbers (15 and 13, respectively) that have been true pretty much all year, well done — you’ve been reading way too many columns about charts.

WOULD IT KILL HIM TO FILM “MARY JANE’S LAST DANCE,” PART TWO?: Congratulations to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, whose Hypnotic Eye is the veteran rock band’s first Number One album ever. The sad asterisk, though, is that the album sold just 131,000 copies and is almost certain to plunge down the charts next week. Yes, the album is solid, and Petty has been promoting it via a Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance and a tour, but he’s released no new videos and his singles are nowhere near the charts. His biggest new song on Spotify, “Red River,” has yet to reach 200,000 streams — by comparison, Petty’s classic “American Girl” has more than 9.2 million. The formula for a prolonged hit album is videos, videos, videos. Petty prefers ticket sales. 

PLENTY OF TIME—AT LEAST 4 MILLION MORE SECONDS OF SUMMER LEFT: It’s a big week for debut albums — following Petty in the Top 10 are Eric Clapton’s The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale (61,000) and the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack (60,000), while Vine hero Shawn Mendes’ self-titled EP is at Number Five with 48,000, Theory of a Deadman sells 28,000 copies of Savages (Number Eight) and Jenny LewisVoyager hits Number Nine with 21,000. Precipitous drops this week: 5 Seconds of Summer’s self-titled album (54,000 copies, or down 79 percent, from Number One to Number Four); and Frozen (33,000, or down 10 percent, from Number Two to Number Six). I have a feeling, though, that 5 Seconds of Summer won’t be dropping for long.

AT LEAST “RUDE” IS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION—DOWN: Yes, “Bang Bang” is the new Number One on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart — the Jessie J/Ariana Grande/Nicki Minaj collaboration made its debut with 230,000 sales. But chart-stats-wise, I’m more intrigued by Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” which increased 63 percent in sales (169,000 overall) and rose from Number Six to Number Two, and Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow,” which jumped 31 percent (100,000 sales) and rose from Number 15 to Number Eight. Both surged on BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which often predicts future hits—”Black Widow” is up 14 slots and “Bass” is up 18.


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