MTV VMAs Spur Early Gains for Miley Cyrus, NSYNC, Justin Timberlake, and More

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke perform onstage during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in Brooklyn, NY

Andrew H. Walker/WireImage

Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Justin Timberlake were all big winners during the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), even though only Timberlake actually won any awards. Cyrus and Thicke paired for a buzzed-about performance during the Aug. 25 show, while Timberlake reunited with his bandmates in NSYNC and took home multiple trophies.

In the week ending Aug. 25, NSYNC earned a 184% rise in album sales and a 226% lift in song sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The group’s albums shifted 6,000 for the week, while its songs moved 28,000. While both numbers are small, they will likely grow next week after there’s been a week of impact after the show.

Miley Cyrus Sees Social Media and Digital Sales Benefits from MTV VMAs Performance

The current week's charts only reflect sales through Aug. 25, the day of the show. (SoundScan's tracking period runs Monday through Sunday each week.) SoundScan will release the sales figures for the week ending Sept. 1 on Sept. 4.

The premiere of the 2013 VMAs garnered a total audience of 10.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen -- a gain of 66% versus the 2012 show. This year's show returned the VMAs to a Sunday night TV slot after a move to Thursday in 2012 (and a drop in ratings).

Timberlake's digital song sales grew by 7.5% for the week, up to 319,000. His albums also saw a bounce, increasing by 8% to 20,000.

Cyrus released a new song to digital retailers the day before the VMAs, so her weekly sales comparison is skewed. The new track, "Wrecking Ball," debuts this week at No. 13 on the Digital Songs chart with 90,000 sold.

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If we combine her "Wrecking Ball" sales with the rest of her previously available music, her weekly song sales stand at 258,000, a gain of 50%. (That includes Cyrus songs credited to her former Disney character Hannah Montana). However, without "Wrecking Ball" in the mix, Cyrus’ song sales were actually down by 2%.

Industry forecasters suggest that "Wrecking Ball" will see a spike in sales for the week ending Sept. 1, possibly growing to 175,000 and 200,000 in its first full week on sale. That would mark a gain of 95% to 123%, depending on how the song finishes the week.

Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" -- which was part of her VMAs medley with Thicke -- might sell between 140,000 and 150,000 in the week ending Sept. 1. This past week, it moved 143,000 downloads. Cyrus began her VMAs performance with "We Can't Stop" and it transitioned into a medley with Thicke for his songs "Blurred Lines" and "Give It 2 U."

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Cyrus' overall album sales for the week -- combined with her "Hannah Montana" output -- sold less than 1,000 copies. (She has released three studio albums and one EP, in addition to numerous "Montana" albums.)

Cyrus' upcoming album, "Bangerz," is due out Oct. 8 on RCA Records, her debut for the label. She previously recorded with Hollywood Records.

Other VMAs participants that are seeing early gains for their music include Bruno Mars, Kanye West, Iggy Azalea, Thicke, Drake and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Mars' song "Gorilla" -- which he performed on the VMAs -- jumped from 2,000 downloads to 20,000 in the week ending Aug. 25, up by 1,003%. West's VMAs-performed "Blood on the Leaves" jumps 182% to 10,000 downloads.

Azalea, who was a presenter and nominee for her song "Work," watches "Work" climb with a 156% gain to 10,000 downloads -- its best sales week yet. The song is also building steam at radio, as it is just under the threshold of the Rhythmic airplay chart this week.

While Thicke's "Blurred Lines" was down by 14% in sales this week (251,000), his "Give It 2 U" saw a robust increase of 79% (selling 24,000 for the week). Sources tell Billboard.biz that "Blurred" will likely dip down in sales again in the week ending Sept. 1.

Drake performed a two-song medley on the VMAs -- "Hold On, We're Going Home" and "Started From the Bottom" -- the latter of which earned a sales gain this week. "Started" moved 21,000 downloads for the week, a gain of 42%. "Hold On" is down by just 1% (to 89,000). Many big debuts, like Drake's "Hold On" -- which bowed with 109,000 -- tend to decrease in sales in their second and third weeks, before stabilizing and moving back up the chart.

Finally, we come to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love." The song was performed on the show and earned a VMA for best video with a social message. In turn, the tune nabs a 6% sales gain (rising to 89,000) and will likely grab another increase next week.


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