Cake Scores Lowest-Selling No. 1 Album in SoundScan History

The Digital Songs and Billboard 200 charts couldn't look anymore different this week.

Sales at the top of the Billboard 200 continue to slide, as the No. 1-debuting set -- from a rather unlikely band -- sold 44,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Meanwhile, Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" makes a sizzling debut atop the Digital Songs chart with 411,000 sold.

Cake's "Showroom of Compassion" bows atop the Billboard 200 with just 44,000. That's not only the smallest frame for a No. 1 album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 ( beating a record set only last week), but it's also obviously the tiniest figure racked up by a No. 1-debuting album.

Who would have thought that Cake -- a band that many may only remember for its 1998 No. 1 Alternative Songs hit, "Never There" -- would notch not just its first top 10 album in 2011, but also its first No. 1?

Cake Takes DIY Approach with 'Showroom' Album

Cage the Elephant's new "Thank You Happy Birthday" debuts in the No. 2 slot with 39,000, while last week's No. 1, Taylor Swift's "Speak Now," drops to No. 3 (35,000; down 32%). Country act Steel Magnolia is the third and final bow in the top 10, as its self-titled set starts at No. 7 (28,000).

Cage the Elephant Lets Loose with 'Birthday' Album

As for the rest of the top 10, Bruno Mars' "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" falls 3-4 (32,000; down 15%), Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday" slips 2-5 (32,000; down 17%), and the "Country Strong" soundtrack rises 10-6 (29,000; up less than 1%). Rihanna's "Loud" slides 6-8 (28,000; down 16%), Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" dips 8-9 (26,000; down 24%), and Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" drops 7-10 (25,000; down 24%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, things brighten up. The arrival of "Hold It Against Me" with an as-expected 411,000 downloads sold in its first week is not just Spears' best sales week for a digital song, but also the largest debut for a woman as a lead artist. It trumps the 325,000 that Swift's "Today Was a Fairytale" sold on the Feb. 6, 2010, chart.

Britney Spears' 'Hold It Against Me' Soars Onto Pop Songs Chart

This week, Spears leads two more top 10 bows: Avril Lavigne's "What the Hell" (No. 6 with 163,000) and West and Jay-Z's "H*A*M" (No. 10 with 125,000). The latter reached digital retailers one day later (Jan. 12) than the other two titles.

Last week's Digital Songs No. 1, Mars' "Grenade," falls to No. 2 (219,000; down 21%). Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" moves 4-3 (190,000; up 3%), Katy Perry's "Firework" slips 2-4 (184,000; down 20%), and Enrique Iglesias' "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" slides 3-5 (182,000; down 5%). The Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)" falls 5-7 (157,000; down 13%), Lil Wayne's "6 Foot 7 Foot" declines 7-8 (146,000; down 10%), and Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" tumbles 6-9 (141,000; down 19%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 16) totaled 4.9 million units, down 11% compared with the sum last week (5.4 million) and down 15% compared with the comparable sales week of 2010 (5.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 10.3 million, an 11% drop compared with the same total at this point last year (11.6 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 27.5 million downloads, down 8% compared with last week (29.8 million) and 8% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (25.4 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 57.2 million, up 8% compared with the same total at this point last year (52.9 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2010 when: The live charity compilation "Hope for Haiti Now" debuted at No. 1 with 171,000, marking the first digital-only album to reach the top of the chart. The previous week's No. 1, Vampire Weekend's "Contra," fell to No. 6 with 43,000 (down 65%).

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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