When the top debut on the Billboard 200 is down at No. 42, you know it's a slow week on the chart . . . Sade's "Soldier of Love" holds at No. 1 for a second frame, selling 190,000 (down 62%) while Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" continues to sell like hot cakes . . . Next week's chart looks almost as sleepy, as the top debut will likely be Johnny Cash's "American VI: Ain't No Grave."



FLASH POINTS

• It's a slow week on the Billboard 200, as Sade's "Soldier of Love" retains the No. 1 position for a second frame, shifting 190,000 (down 62%) while there are no debuts anywhere in the top 40 of the chart.

• Last week the chart's top 40 was populated with eight new arrivals seemingly released to capitalize on the Valentine's Day holiday. This week, with V-Day in the rear view mirror, the chart's highest debut comes from Story of the Year's "The Constant" way down at No. 42 with 14,000.

• It's not the first time this year that the chart has been light on big-bowing debuts. On the Billboard 200 dated Jan. 16 (reflecting the sales week that ended Jan. 3), the highest debut was at No. 73 (a discount compilation titled "The 99 Most Essential Chopin Masterpieces").

• As for the non-Sade titles in the top 10 this week, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" holds at No. 2 with 144,000 (down 31%). In turn, it becomes 2010's first million-selling album, as it reaches 1,041,000 in only its fourth week of release. It's the first title to sell 1 million so early in the year since the Game's "Documentary" hit that number in the fifth week of 2005.

• The Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." sells 65,000 and climbs five spots to No. 3—despite a 2% drop in sales. With overall album sales down 17%, many titles that see a small decline actually move up the chart. Lady Gaga's "The Fame," for instance, rises three slots to No. 4 with 63,000 (down 17%), while Lil Wayne's "Rebirth" falls one rung to No. 5 with 58,000 (down 35%). Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" drifts up from No. 9 to No. 6 with 51,000 (up 1%), Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom" flies from No. 12 to No. 7 with 39,000 (down 2%), and Jaheim's "Another Round" slips five positions to No. 8 in its second week with 36,000 (down 68%). Closing out the top 10 this week are Josh Turner's "Haywire" at No. 9—down four positions—with 33,000 (down 62%) and Taylor Swift's "Fearless," holding at No. 10 with 32,000 (down 35%).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Feb. 21) totaled 6.5 million units, down 17% compared with the sum last week (7.8 million) and down 12% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (7.4 million).

• A LOOK AHEAD:

• The highest debut on the Billboard 200 next week will likely be Johnny Cash's "American VI: Ain't No Grave," the late legend's final installment in his successful "American Recordings" series with producer Rick Rubin. Industry prognosticators suggest the effort could sell in the range of 30,000 to 35,000 by week's end on Sunday, Feb. 28. That first-week sum could earn it a top 10 bow next week.

• Cash's previous American set, "American V: A Hundred Highways," debuted at No. 1 with 88,000 in its first week back in July 2006. It was Cash's second topper and first since the iconic live set "Johnny Cash at San Quentin" spent four weeks at No. 1 in 1969.

• The Feb. 23 release schedule was somewhat quiet aside from Cash, with only a handful of big guns hitting shelves (virtual and otherwise). The brightest of the rest: Alkaline Trio's "This Addiction" and Chayanne's "No Hay Imposibles."



MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.5 million units
• DOWN 17% from last week's charts: 7.8 million units
• DOWN 12% from the comparable week in 2009: 7.4 million units
• This week: The top two albums on the Billboard 200 sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" notched its 10th week at No. 1, shifting 62,000 copies, while Charlie Wilson's "Uncle Charlie" arrived in the No. 2 slot with 58,000. The second-higest debut was Morrissey's "Years of Refusal" at No. 11 with 31,000.



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Johnny Cash's "American VI: Ain't No Grave," Alkaline Trio's "This Addiction" and Chayanne's "No Hay Imposibles."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" closed out its 11th and final frame at No. 1, selling 73,000 (up 18%). Nos. 2 and 3 were debuts, coming from Lamb of God's "Wrath" (68,000) and the Jonas Brothers' "3D Concert Experience" (50,000).

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print