WINNER OF THE WEEK: Imagine Dragons. Yes, pop-rock veterans Matchbox Twenty score their first Number One album with 95,000 copies sold, but the more interesting chart story this week is the debut of Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons. The four-year-old band has built buzz all year, beginning with a Valentine's Day EP release that caught MTV programmers' ears and wound up being so popular, the track "It's Time" landed a VMA nomination for Best Rock Video. For their full-length Night Visions, Imagine Dragons embraced sales on iTunes ($7.99) and Amazon MP3 ($5) and wound up selling 90 percent of the LP's 83,000 copies digitally. (Night Visions is Number One on iTunes' album chart this week, above Lecrae, One Direction and Matchbox Twenty.) We're sure the set will drop significantly by next week, but the sale prices are a smart strategy for establishing a new act.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: TobyMac. It's a little unfair to pick on the Christian singer for plunging in sales in his second week – Eye On It went from Number One to Number Eight with 26,000 in sales, a 63 percent drop. Just about everybody atop the album charts has had the same affliction in recent months, from Rick Ross to NOW 43 to 2 Chainz. And it'll probably happen to Christian rapper Lecrae, whose Gravity debuts at Number Three this week, with 72,000 copies. So here's a broad summary of genres whose artists have recently hit Number One then plunged – rock, hip-hop, Christian, pop, country. That's pretty much everybody with the exception of Adele, and, we predict, Taylor Swift.
RIDING THE INVISIBLE PONY – TO THE TOP: We at Chart Watch are making it our personal mission to keep commercial tabs on Psy, the Korean pop star whose brilliant "Gangnam Style" video is packed with deadpan non-sequitur settings like a playground, a horse stable and a parking garage containing a rival dancer dressed in eye-scorching yellow. Psy's American press crush has begun, with appearances at the MTV VMAs, Ellen (where he demonstrated his horse-riding moves to Britney Spears, who of course mastered them immediately) and Today this coming Friday. So far, the PR push is making him even bigger on YouTube, where "Gangnam Style" jumped from 105.5 million to 151.5 million views in one week – but he has yet to translate the viral buzz to U.S. music sales. "Gangnam" didn't place in iTunes' Top 10.
LAST WEEK: 'Gangnam Style' Is All the Rage