May 22 // Beyonce Lights Up The BBMAs
After an absence of nearly five years, the Billboard Music Awards returned in a big way on May 22. Telecast on ABC, the industry smash garnered an average audience of 7.9 million viewers (according to Nielsen), which was enough to "trump" all other programming between 8 and 9:30 PM, including NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" season finale. Held in Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena, the show featured epic performances from Beyonce, Britney Spears, Neil Diamond, among others.
May 23 // Lady Gaga Sells a Cool Million
Lady Gaga broke records (and servers) being the only artist of 2011 to sell 1 million copies in their opening week --- with a huge thanks to Amazon. The winning strategy was selling her "Born This Way" album for 99 cents the day of release from Amazon's digital download store; which doubled as huge promotion for a newly launched cloud service. The deal was so popular it was repeated a second day leading to an estimated 440,000 copies sold. Interestingly enough, in mid-November Billboard announced a pricing threshold that albums sold for less than $3.49 or singles sold for less than $0.39 would be ineligible on the Billboard's charts.
June 21 // Music Reality TV Gets Its Mojo Back
2011 brought a refreshing wave of music-based reality television. "American Idol" unfurled a new line-up of judges, swapping Simon Cowell and Kara DioGuardi for Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. "The Voice" (with Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine) was a ratings monster for NBC and Cowell brought his witty tongue to FOX's "The X Factor." The shows' victors and judges were all winners with "Idol" champion Scotty McCreery becoming the first country act to debut at No. 1 with his debut album and "Voice" coaches Levine and Aguilera earning four nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 with collaboration "Moves Like Jagger" which premiered on the show's June 21 episode.
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