Country group Zac Brown Band nets its second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as "Uncaged" starts with a larger-than-expected 234,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It earns the act its best sales week yet, trumping the 153,000 that "You Get What You Give" sold in its debut frame in 2010.
Some industry sources had thought the album was going to launch with perhaps 220,000, but the album did better that forecasted over the weekend. The number was aided by two significant TV performance on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman" (July 11) and NBC's "Today" (July 13).
Also amplifying "Uncaged's" number was Amazon MP3, which sale priced the set for the entire week at $3.99. While SoundScan does not break out how many copies are at a specific retailer, some sources suggest that Amazon may have contributed around 25,000 to 30,000 of "Uncaged's" debut frame.
"Uncaged" tallies the second biggest sales week this year for a country album. Only Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" moved more in a week, when it arrived at No. 1 with 267,000 on the chart dated May 19. Further, in 2011, only one country album sold more than 200,000 in a single week: Lady Antebellum's "Own the Night," which bowed with 347,000 on Oct. 1.
At No. 2 on the Billboard 200, the much buzzed-about R&B singer/songwriter Frank Ocean bows with his debut studio effort, "Channel Orange." The set sold 131,000 in its first week -- mostly from the iTunes Store. However, about 3,000 of that sum were physical CDs.
The set was initially exclusively released via iTunes on July 10 -- a week before its advertised street date of July 17. Since it dropped digitally, physical retailers were instructed by Ocean's label to start selling the CD version as soon as it arrives in stores. In turn, many brick-and-mortar retailers had the album on its shelves over the weekend.
Ocean's debut surpasses Usher's recent first-week with "Looking 4 Myself" (128,000) and almost matches the figure Chris Brown launched with "Fortune" a week ago (135,000). Ocean's bow is thus rather stunning. Consider how his album -- with comparably little promotion compared to Brown and Usher and basically only available at iTunes -- sold about as well as two superstars with multiple hit radio singles and wall-to-wall promotion.
Zac Brown Band and Ocean are the lone debuts in the top 10 this week. The next highest arrival is at No. 12, where Hank Williams Jr. notches a career-high peak with the debut of "Old School New Rules" (25,000). The country veteran had previously gone as high as No. 16 -- twice. He hit No. 16 with both 2006's greatest hits set "That's How They Do It In Dixie" and his chart debut, 1965's "Your Cheatin' Heart."
Back in the top 10, Justin Bieber's "Believe" holds at No. 3 with 45,000 (down 35%), Brown's "Fortune" falls 1-4 with just under 45,000 (down 67%) and Maroon 5's "Overexposed" slips 4-5 with 44,000 (down 34%). Linkin Park's "Living Things" drops one rung to No. 6 with 37,000 (down 42%), One Direction's "Up All Night" rises four to No. 7 with 36,000 (up 1%) and Adele's "21" climbs a spot to No. 8 with 35,000 (down 14%).
With a 73rd week in the top 10, "21" has now spent more weeks in the top 10 than any other album by a woman in history. It surpasses the 72 week run of Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill." (Among all albums, the soundtrack to "The Sound of Music" has the most weeks in the top 10, with 109.)
Rounding out the Billboard 200's top 10 are Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" (2-9 with 34,000; down 58%) and Kenny Chesney's "Welcome to the Fishbowl" (8-10 with 32,000; down 26%). "Teenage Dream" collapses after last week's rush up the chart, which was owed to a one-day 99-cent sale by Amazon MP3. A week ago, it rallied 21-2 with a 417% gain.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" gives up the No. 1 slot, as it falls to No. 2 with 203,000 (down 17%). Taking over the penthouse is Katy Perry's "Wide Awake," which ascends to the top for the first time, selling 205,000 (down 2%). It's her eighth No. 1 on Digital Songs.
Flo Rida's "Whistle" rises 4-3 (191,000; up 11%) while Pink's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" makes a major move, zooming 41-4 with 171,000 (up 259%). The song was released to digital retailers on July 3, a week earlier than planned. Likely owed to its rush release, it lacked major promotion in the iTunes Store until last week. Its digital jump syncs up with its airplay rise on the Pop Songs chart, where it flies 34-19 this week.
Maroon 5's "Payphone" is down two to No. 5 (155,000; down 16%), Ellie Goulding's "Lights" slips one to No. 6 (150,000; down 6%) and David Guetta's "Titanium" is steady at No. 7 (127,000; down 8%). Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" drops two to No. 8 (just under 126,000; down 12%) and Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back" breaks into the top 10, rising 13-9 (114,000; up 30%). Closing out the top 10 is Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time," descending two spots to No. 10 (104,000; down 18%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending July 15) totaled 5.56 million units, down 4% compared with the sum last week (5.80 million) and down 1% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.61 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 161.81 million, down 3% compared with the same total at this point last year (166.42 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 25.07 million downloads, down 3% compared with last week (25.89 million) and up 9% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (22.92 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 748.97 million, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (706.96 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Adele's "21" returned to No. 1 with 77,000 (up/down 1%) while the "Kidz Bop 20" album was the highest debut (No. 2 with 69,000).