Beyoncé's self-titled album racks up a third week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200—the longest run at No. 1 for any album since last April. "Beyoncé" sold another 310,000 copies during the week ending Dec. 29, according to Nielsen SoundScan, down 17% compared with the previous week. The album has now sold 1.3 million in its first 17 days of release in the United States.
"Beyoncé" is the first album to spend three weeks at No. 1 since Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience" logged three straight frames atop the list (April 6-April 20, 2013). "Beyoncé" is the first album by a woman to notch three weeks at No. 1 since Taylor Swift's "Red" claimed seven weeks at the top (non-consecutively) in late 2012 and early 2013.
"Beyoncé" is also the first album since 2009 to sell more than 300,000 copies in each of its first three weeks. ("Beyoncé" debuted with 617,000, then sold 374,000 a week ago.) The last album to move in excess of 300,000 in its first three chart weeks was Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream." It actually moved more than 500,000 in each of its first five weeks, from the charts dated Dec. 12, 2009, through Jan. 9, 2010.
Finally, with 1.3 million sold in three chart weeks, "Beyoncé" is the fastest-selling album by a woman since Swift's "Red" plowed through 1.6 million in its first two weeks. It debuted with 1.2 million on the chart dated Nov. 10, 2012, and then sold another 344,000 in its second week.
Back to this week's chart though: One Direction's "Midnight Memories" climbs one spot to No. 2, selling 142,000 (down 14%) while Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" rises 6-3 with 122,000 (up 6%). Both titles are sustaining in sales likely due to post-Christmas shopping by consumers who received gift cards for download stores. It's traditional to see certain youthful-appealing titles gain in sales in the week after Christmas thanks to gift card redemptions.
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One Direction's album also becomes the group's third album—out of three—to sell more than 1 million copies. This week, in its fifth week on the chart, its additional 142,000 sold puts its to-date total to 1.1 million. The act previously released "Take Me Home" and "Up All Night" in 2012. The former album also cleared the 1 million mark its fifth week, while "Up All Night" took 19 weeks to reach 1 million.
Titles that also see gains in the week after Christmas are soundtracks to musical movies currently in theaters, like "Frozen." The album notches its best sales week yet, as it jumps 8-4 with 106,000 (up 31%). It's the highest-charting animated film soundtrack from Disney since "Pocahontas" reached No. 1 in 1995.
"Frozen" could certainly rise to greater heights next week. A year ago at this time, the soundtrack to the musical "Les Misérables" rallied by 31 spots, jumping from No. 33 to No. 2 with 136,000 (up 218%). The album then hit No. 1 the following week, selling 92,000.
Katy Perry's "PRISM" is up next on the Billboard 200, ascending two positions to No. 5 with 99,000 (up less than 1%). It was one of many titles that iTunes sale-priced last week as part of its 2013 Chart Toppers sale. "PRISM" was marked down to $6.99, while Lorde's "Pure Heroine" (11-7 with 78,000; up 14%), Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz" (17-8 with 63,000; up 26%) and Imagine Dragons' "Night Visions" (16-9 with 62,000; up 18%) were also discounted to less than $8.
Garth Brooks' Walmart-exclusive boxed set "Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences" shuffles down 2-6 with 90,000 (down 55%) while Kelly Clarkson's holiday album "Wrapped in Red" unspools 5-10 with 62,000 (down 50%).
Since the most recent tracking week included just two days before Christmas (Dec. 23 and 24), it's normal for holiday albums take a tumble on the list this week. Joining Clarkson in the general Christmas collapse is the Robertsons' "Duck the Halls" (4-11 with 60,000; down 55%) and Pentatonix's "PTXmas" (EP) (24-43 with 15,000; down 46%). The three albums are the only Christmas titles among the top 50 sellers this week.
Very few new titles arrived to market last week, thus, there are zero new entries in the Billboard 200's top 50 this week.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Pitbull’s "Timber," featuring Ke$ha, retakes the No. 1 slot—up one rung—with 442,000 (up 108%). Last week's leader, A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera's "Say Something," slides to No. 4 with 355,000 (up 49%).
Every title on the 50-position Digital Songs chart has a sales gain this week—not surprising, as consumers redeemed digital gift cards after the Christmas holiday. And, of those 50 songs, only four gain by less than 100%. (In total, digital song sales were up by 98% compared with the previous week.)
Eminem's "The Monster," featuring Rihanna, is up one to No. 2 with 433,000 (up 124%), OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" rises 4-3 with 408,000 (up 143%) while Lorde's "Royals" is up 6-5 with 302,000 (up 172%).
Imagine Dragons' "Demons" jumps 9-6 with 291,000 (up 184%); Perry's "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, is steady at No. 7 with 285,000 (up 158%); and Passenger's "Let Her Go" dips 5-8 with 279,000 (up 107%). One Direction's "Story of My Life" falls 8-9 with 262,000 (up 138%,) and Perry's "Roar" returns to the top 10, up three rungs to No. 10, with 258,000 (up 230%).
This week, which reflects the busy post-Christmas shopping period, 10 songs sold more than 200,000 downloads. To compare, a year ago, in the week ending Dec. 30, 2012, there were 17 songs that sold at least 200,000. (It's not a completely apples-to-apples comparison, since the week in 2012 had one extra day of post-Christmas day sales versus2013.)
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Dec. 29) totaled 9.4 million units, down 11% compared with the sum last week (10.6 million) and down 3% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (9.8 million). This past week was the final week of 2013, and album sales finished the year at 289.4 million—down 8% compared with 2012 (316 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 43.1 million downloads, up 98% compared with last week (21.8 million) and down 23% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (55.7 million). There were 1.26 billion tracks sold in 2013, down 6% compared to 2012's haul (1.34 billion).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2013 when: the soundtrack to "Les Misérables" jumped 2-1 with 92,000 (down 32%), bumping the previous week's leader, Swift's "Red," down to No. 3 with 69,000 (down 72%).
Please note that due to the New Years holiday, the top 10 of the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts will be revealed today (Jan. 2) and update in full on Friday (Jan. 3).