Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" holds onto the Billboard 200 crown for a sixth week, but can't topple Taylor Swift's "Fearless" as the top-selling album of 2009 . . . The '09 sales total for "Dream" climbs to 3,104,000—a bit short of the 3,217,000 copies that "Fearless" sold . . . Still, "Dream" was the best-selling new album of the year and the biggest physical release . . . In Chart Alert this week we also run down the top 10 best-selling albums of 2009 and preview next week's chart, where Ke$ha's "Animal" is aiming for the Hot Shot Debut.



FLASH POINTS

• Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" reigns for a sixth straight week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 137,000 (down 73%), according to Nielsen SoundScan, bringing her cumulative sales total to 3,104,000. However, while that is a huge sales sum—especially considering it was accumulated in just six weeks' time—it's not enough to overtake Taylor Swift's "Fearless" as 2009's top-selling album. The latter is No. 5 on the Billboard 200 this week, selling another 60,000 and bringing its 2009 total to 3,217,000.

• Of course, Boyle can rest easy in knowing that her "Dream" is but one of just two albums to sell at least 3 million copies in the United States last year—something that hasn't happened since 2006, when three albums did so. "Dream" is also 2009's top-selling album released last year (Swift's "Fearless" dropped in late 2008) and the top-selling physical album of the year. Of its overall 2009 total, physical CDs accounted for 3,019,000 copies, whereas digital downloads made up a rather tiny 86,000.

• If Swift's "Fearless" finishes '09 as the best-selling album and Boyle's "Dream" is No. 2, then who rounds out the year's top 10 sellers? Michael Jackson's "Number Ones" is 2009's third-biggest-selling album, with 2.5 million, according to SoundScan, while Lady Gaga's "The Fame" is fourth with 2.2 million. Andrea Bocelli's recent release "My Christmas" powered through 2.2 million in just nine weeks, making it the year's fifth-best. The soundtrack to "Hannah Montana: The Movie" is sixth (1.8 million), followed by the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." (No. 7 with 1.8 million), Eminem's "Relapse" (No. 8 with 1.7 million), Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" (No. 9 with 1.5 million) and Kings of Leon's "Only by the Night" (No. 10 with 1.4 million).

• Jackson's fans will also be pleased to find out that the King of Pop owns four of the year's top 20 best-selling albums. Not only is "Number Ones" at No. 3 on the year-end list, the top 20 also houses "This Is It" (No. 12 with 1.3 million), "Thriller" (No. 14 with 1.3 million) and "The Essential Michael Jackson" (No. 20 with 1.2 million).

• Jackson is the biggest-selling albums artist for 2009 with more than 8.2 million sales for the year. Swift is the second-biggest-selling albums artist for 2009 with 4.6 million in sales and the second straight year of 4 million or more album sales.

• For the 52-week period of Jan. 5, 2009, through Jan. 3, 2010, 373.9 million albums were sold in the United States, down 12.7% compared with the same frame of 2008 where 428.4 million albums were sold. However, digital album sales in the same time frame comparison rose a hearty 16.1%, to an all-time high of 76.4 million in 2009 versus 65.8 million in 2008.

• Vinyl LP aficionados can also celebrate that vinyl album sales totaled 2.5 million in 2009, up a whopping 33% compared with 2008 (1.9 million). More vinyl albums were purchased in 2009 than any other year in the history of Nielsen SoundScan (since 1991).

• Total music purchases in 2009—which include albums, singles, music videos and digital tracks—reached the 1.5 billion mark, making it the fifth consecutive year music sales have exceeded 1 billion. (2008 saw 1.5 billion in sales, there were 1.4 billion in 2007, 1.2 billion in 2006 and 1.01 billion in 2005.)

• Switching gears for a moment, we take a look at the top-selling digital songs of the year. 2009 marked the first time a digital song broke the 4-million sales mark in a single year. And even better: Four songs sailed past the 4 million mark.

• The Black Eyed Peas own the No. 1 and No. 2 sellers: "Boom Boom Pow" (4.8 million) and "I Gotta Feeling" (4.4 million). Not to be outdone, Lady Gaga nets both the third- and fifth-biggest selling tunes with "Poker Face" (4.4 million) and "Just Dance" (3.2 million), respectively. Flo Rida's "Right Round" (No. 4, 4.1 million), Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." (No. 6, 3.2 million), Jay Sean's "Down" (No. 7, 3.1 million), All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell" (No. 8, 2.9 million), Owl City's "Firelfies" (No. 9, 2.8 million) and Jason DeRulo's "Watcha Say" (No. 10, 2.8 million) round out the rest of the year's top 10 best-selling digital songs.

• A whopping 1.2 billion digital tracks were sold in 2009, up 8.3% compared with 2008 (1.1 billion). The biggest-selling artist, in terms of digital song downloads, was Lady Gaga with more than 15 million in track sales.

• THIS WEEK'S BILLBOARD 200:

• As it turns out, four of the year's biggest-selling albums also happen to be featured on the current Billboard 200, where Boyle leads for a sixth week. Here's a quick rundown of the rest of the top 10 on this week's chart: Lady Gaga's "The Fame," as predicted here last week, climbs from No. 6 to a new peak of No. 2 with 82,000 (down 51%). The 62-week-old album had previously topped out at No. 4 back on March 21, 2009.

• Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom" climbs one spot to No. 3 with 80,000 (down 71%) while Mary J. Blige's "Stronger With Each Tear" drops two spots to No. 4 with 62,000. Justin Bieber's "My World" EP is up one to No. 6 with 52,000 (down 67%) while the soundtrack to "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" flies from No. 20 to No. 7 with 51,000 (down 43%). The set makes such a large positional leap thanks to its relatively small sales decline—overall album sales were down 55% this week, so its drop is not so bad in comparison.

• Rounding out the bottom slots of the top 10, we have the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." moving from No. 15 to No. 8 with 47,000 (down 55%), Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" EP up three spots to No. 9 (44,000; down 62%) and Owl City's "Ocean Eyes" up four rungs to No. 10 (down 59%).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 3) totaled 7.8 million units, down 55% compared with the sum last week (15.1 million) and down 9% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (week ending Jan. 4; 8.5 million).

• A LOOK AHEAD:

• As we take a look at next week's Billboard 200—and the first sales week of 2010—we're gearing up for what could be a battle for No. 1.

• Presently, next week's topper could be Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" or perhaps Ke$ha's just-released debut album, "Animal." Early prognostications from label sources suggest that both efforts may sell around 100,000 copies by week's end on Jan. 10. However, with Ke$ha's very youthful audience going up against Boyle's more mature demographic, it's a tough call on who may come out on top.

• Ke$ha's album has an attractive developing-artist list price of $9.98, but it's on sale for less than that at the big physical retailers. Additionally, the Amazon MP3 and iTunes Stores are offering it for only $6.99. Sources suggest that an overwhelming amount of the album's first-week sales will be powered by digital downloads.

• The young singer has already made a lot of chart noise, as the lead single from "Animal," "Tik Tok," has sold 2.4 million downloads in total—including 394,000 this past week. It retains the No. 1 slot on the Hot Digital Songs chart for a third straight frame as well.


MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 7.8 million units
• DOWN 55% from last week's charts: 17.1 million units
• DOWN 9% from the comparable week in 2009: 6.3 million units
• This week: Only the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 sells more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" was a familiar face at No. 1, selling 72,000. The chart's top debut was at No. 16 from "Total Club Hits 2" with 20,000 copies.



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Ke$ha's "Animal," Katharine McPhee's "Unbroken" and Elvis Presley's "Elvis 75."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" was yet again No. 1 (63,000) while the biggest new entry was the soundtrack to "Notorious" at No. 4 with 43,000.