Out of the titles eligible for the 54th Grammy's in the top 20 best-selling albums so far in 2011, only Britney Spears' "Femme Fatale" was overlooked in the nominations announced on Wednesday evening. The album, which was released on March 29, is ranked No. 19 with 714,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The best-selling album of the year, Adele's "21," has scanned 4.67 million units in 2011. The British singer and Bruno Mars received six nominations, while Kanye West led the pack with seven nods.
"If it wasn't for Adele, this would have been interesting," Trans World VP of music and new media Ish Cuebas says. "I think she is going to win everything. Look at Bruno Mars -- the guy is amazing. Unfortunately, he is up against Adele."
Cuebas isn't knocking Adele; he's just looking at the situation as a businessman. With "21" on its way to realizing sales of five million units this year, he and other retailers wonder how much upside there will be in the way of sales. Meanwhile, the Bruno Mars' "Doo Wop & Hooligans" has scanned 883,000 units. Both artists are nominated for the record of the year and album of the year, the only two artists to earn that distinction for both categories. If the Bruno Mars album notches numerous Grammy awards and he performs at the ceremony in February, retailers figure they can get more sales if he wins than if Adele does.
"I think Bruno will get a lift from an older demographic who maybe don't know his music," Trans World music buyer Mark Hudson says.
Meanwhile, even though he led the way with seven nominations, retailers were surprised that West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" didn't get nominated for album of the year. Moreover, they say that since both that album and "Watch the Throne" -- which he recorded with Jay-Z -- were both nominated for rap album of the year it could wind-up splitting the West vote. That could pave the way for a Rap Album win by either Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter IV," Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday" or Lupe Fiasco's "Lasers." The latter is a long shot, as it has the smallest sales sum of the bunch, with 478,000 sold. "Carter" has shifted 1.75 million while "Pink" has sold 1.66 million.
Trans World's Cuebas shared some of his picks for winners with Billboard. He predicts that the best new artist will be either the Band Perry or Minaj; best pop duo/group performance, "Body and Soul" by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse; best traditional pop vocal, Bennett's "Duets II;" best dance recording, David Guetta and Avicii's "Sunshine;" best dance/electronic album, either Deadmau5 "4×4=12" or Guetta's "Nothing But the Beat." But he adds that Skrillex "could be the dark horse."
Hudson says he was disappointed that neither Civil Wars nor Foster the People got best new artist nods, and reckons the Band Perry will probably win. Despite not being nominated for best new artist, Super D, which distributes the Civil Wars' album "Barton Hollow," sent out a press release congratulating the band for being nominated for the best folk album and best country duo/group performance. The album has scanned 216,000 units since its release.
Meanwhile, some of the major labels were counting their Grammys. By RCA's count, its artists picked up 27 Grammy nominations with the Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" leading the way as an album of the year nomination.
And A2IM counted up 194 nominations of the 387 total non-producer nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, or half of all nominations. But in reaching that number, the organization used its own definition of categorizing indie by ownership, not distribution. So for example, it includes Adele's six nominations in its count since that album is out in the United Kingdom on XL Recordings. But in the United States, Columbia put out Adele's albums and it also counts Adele in its total of 21 Grammy nominations.
Finally, EMI counted 31 Grammy nominations for its artists, with Coldplay, Katy Perry, Chris Tomlin, Guetta and the Decemberists leading the way, each with multiple nominations.