Decemberists Top The 200 With Help From NPR &

(Photo: Autumn DeWilde)

The Billboard 200:

-- The Decemberists: As previously noted, the band's new album "The King Is Dead" arrives atop the Billboard 200 with their first No. 1 and a career-best week of 94,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. Their new album wowed the digital marketplace last week, as 65% of its opening tally -- about 61,000 -- were downloads. Sources say about 1/3 of that sum came from Amazon MP3 while the rest was owed to other digital retail (primarily iTunes). Clearly, Amazon MP3's selection of the set as its "daily deal" for $3.99 on street date (Jan. 18) helped matters greatly, as did its front-of-store placement in iTunes.

Also contributing to its handsome bow was the band's wall-to-wall coverage on NPR during release week. Not only were they on "All Things Considered" (Jan. 16) but they also popped up on the syndicated shows "Fresh Air" (Jan. 18) and "World Cafe" (Jan. 21). Lastly, they played a 10-song set for their hometown of Portland, Ore. that was streamed live on and (Jan. 18).

-- Ryan Adams:
Speaking of Amazon and deals, his "III/IV" album, released in December, re-enters at No. 59 following its promotion as Amazon MP3's daily deal on Jan. 21 for $3.99. It results in an overall jump of 350% this week (8,000 sold), surpassing its initial debut and peak of No. 104 (though it debuted with greater sales: 15,000).

-- Elton John:
The new Dad bounces back onto the chart at No. 104 with "Rocket Man: Number Ones" (up 116%) after iTunes advertised it for only $7.99 last week. It's one of a number of classic rock albums that got a boost from iTunes this week. Another, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," rises 149-92 (up 67%).

-- David Garrett: His performance on the Jan. 21 edition of NBC's "Today" helps lift "Rock Symphonies" to a re-entry at No. 125 with a 675% sales gain (nearly 4,000 copies sold, up from less than 1,000 the week previous). The album returns to No. 1 on the Classical Crossover chart for a third cumulative frame.

-- Kristian Stanfill: The worship leader's "Mountains Move" falls right off the tally this week after debuting at No. 64 last week -- though it sticks around the Top Christian Albums chart (falling 3-23; with little more than 1,000; down 75%). It's not unusual to see core-Christian albums drop rapidly, as their devoted fan base usually powers a handsome debut but can't
sustain a lengthy chart life.

The Billboard Hot 100:

-- Britney Spears: Of the eight songs to start north of 300,000 downloads, "Hold It Against Me" (1-6) logs the second-largest second-week percentage decline (411,000 to 183,000, down 55%, according to Nielsen SoundScan). Only Taylor Swift's "Today Was a Fairytale" fell more sharply in its second frame (325,000 to 100,000, down 69%).

Conversely, Spears' song bounds 23-11 on Hot 100 Airplay (60.2 million in audience, up 34%, per Nielsen BDS) and becomes the first song since 2004 to reach the top 10 on the Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart (16-10) in just two weeks. Hence, the cut's 1-6 Hot 100 plunge with Greatest Gainer/Airplay honors.

Spears makes way for Bruno Mars' "Grenade" (2-1), which logs a third nonconsecutive week in the chart's top spot, having alternated between Nos. 1 and 2 over the past six weeks. The song is the first to ink three separate runs at the Hot 100's apex since T.I.'s "Life Your Life," featuring Rihanna (six total weeks at No. 1), in October-December 2008.

-- P!nk: "F**kin' Perfect" roars 30-11 as the Hot 100's Greatest Gainer/Digital for a second consecutive week, blasting 25-6 on Hot Digital Songs (144,000, up 104%). The release of the song's video and building radio support contributes to its vault, as it advances 44-35 on Hot 100 Airplay (35.5 million audience impressions, up 29%). On the Billboard 200, parent album "Greatest Hits... So Far!!!" rises 19-15 (22,000, up 20%), marking the set's highest rank since it debuted at No. 14 the week of Dec. 4, 2010.

-- Avril Lavigne, Kanye West & Jay-Z: Lavigne's "What the Hell" (13-31) and West and Jay-Z's "H*A*M" (23-49) plummet on the Hot 100 in their second chart weeks, courtesy of typical sophomore-week download erosion. On Hot Digital Songs, the tracks register sales of 77,000 (down 53%) and 52,000 (down 59%), respectively. Early radio airplay, however, is encouraging. "Hell" bounds 38-29 on Mainstream Top 40 and 32-25 on Adult Top 40, while
"H*A*M" hits the top 40 (48-37) on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (6.2 million in
audience, up 21%).

-- The Script: The debut of the Dublin, Ireland, band's second album, "Science & Faith," on the Billboard 200 (No. 3; 49,000) spurs the Hot 100's greatest positional vault, as lead single "For the First Time" flies 80-45. The track makes the week's highest entrance on Hot Digital Songs (No. 34, 52,000).

-- Justin Bieber: After spending five weeks on the chart in June and July, "Never Say Never," featuring Jaden Smith, re-enters the Hot 100 at No. 85; it peaked at No. 33 in its first go-round. The song (29,000 downloads, up 108%) is being reworked to radio as an accompanying single to Bieber's 3D documentary concert film of the same name opening in theaters Feb. 11.