While Taylor Swift's "Fearless" hangs in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a fifth week, she does so with less than 100,000 . . . The chart continues to regain pre-Christmas normality, with holiday titles -- for the most part -- taking a slide . . . The top debut this week comes from an unlikely suspect: a Beethoven compilation that was a red-hot seller at Amazon.com's MP3 store . . . In Progress Reports, we have updates on Sugarland, Missy Higgins and Beyonce. Please Note: This story was updated on Jan. 7 at 12:07 PM PST to correct erroneous Market Watch data.
It's the least wonderful time of the year, as the Billboard 200 collapses in a post-Christmas free fall. The top-selling album this week, Taylor Swift's "Fearless," sells 90,000 (down 66%). It's the first time the No. 1 album has sold less than 100,000 since the sales week that ended Feb. 3, 2008, when Alicia Keys' "As I Am" topped the chart with 61,000.
"Fearless" marks its fifth week atop the Billboard 200, the first time any album has managed that many weeks at No. 1 since Josh Groban's "Noel" also did five weeks in December 2007.
This week, the Billboard 200 continues its adjustment to return to pre-Christmas normality, with holiday-flavored sets either taking a dive or leaping up the chart in weird moves. Take for example Straight No Chaser's "Holiday Spirits," which expectedly falls from No. 46 last week (35,000) to No. 155 this week (5,000). That's your standard post-Christmas decline for a holiday album.
However, some sets buck that trend and ascend the tally this week. At No. 10, the Hollywood Records set "All Wrapped Up," with Christmas songs from the Jonas Brothers and others, shifts 40,000 with a 112% increase, rising from No. 88 last week. This isn't the only holiday set to make a jump either. The reason? Titles that were exclusive to one retailer -- such as "All Wrapped Up" (which was available only at Target) -- are deeply discounted after the holiday season in order to clear them off shelves. The same thing happened a year ago this week, when Christmas albums from Elliott Yamin and KT Tunstall made huge chart jumps.
The highest new entry on the Billboard 200 is a various-artists digital compilation at No. 29 titled "The 99 Most Essential Beethoven Masterpieces" with 21,000 sold. The set went for just $1.99 at Amazon.com's MP3 store, enabling its No. 2 debut on Top Digital Albums and No. 3 on Top Compilations. After that, you have to scroll down to No. 86 to find the next debut, Erin McCarley's iTunes-fueled bow with "Love, Save the Empty," shifting nearly 9,000.
|The Billboard 200
Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
|1||1||TAYLOR SWIFT Fearless (Big Machine )||11||16||AKON Freedom (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)|
|2||2||BEYONCE I Am...Sasha Fierce (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music)||12||17||SOUNDTRACK Mamma Mia! (Decca )|
|3||5||KANYE WEST 808s & Heartbreak (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)||13||15||T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG)|
|4||6||SOUNDTRACK Twilight (Summit / Chop Shop / Atlantic / AG)||14||31||LUDACRIS Theater Of The Mind (DTP / Def Jam / IDJMG)|
|5||4||NICKELBACK Dark Horse (Roadrunner )||15||18||FALL OUT BOY Folie A Deux (Decaydance / Fueled By Ramen / Island / IDJMG)|
|6||3||BRITNEY SPEARS Circus (Jive / Zomba)||16||10||DAVID COOK David Cook (19 / RCA / RMG)|
|7||7||KEYSHIA COLE A Different Me (Imani / Geffen / IGA)||17||13||PINK Funhouse (LaFace / Zomba)|
|8||9||JAMIE FOXX Intuition (J / RMG)||18||21||THE KILLERS Day & Age (Island / IDJMG)|
|9||8||VARIOUS ARTISTS Now 29 (Universal / EMI / Sony BMG / Zomba / UMe)||19||32||LIL WAYNE Tha Carter III (Cash Money / Universal Motown / UMRG)|
|*10||88||VARIOUS ARTISTS All Wrapped Up! (EP) (Hollywood )||20||36||PLIES Da REAList (Big Gates / Slip-N-Slide / Atlantic / AG)|
|* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week|
Album units, current chart week: 8.5 million units
DOWN 50% from last issue's charts: 17.02 million units
DOWN 6% from same week, 2007: 9.06 million units
This week: No albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
This week last year on the Billboard 200: Radiohead's "In Rainbows" reached mainstream retailers and debuted at No. 1 with 122,000. The next-highest debut came from the soundtrack to "Juno," which entered at No. 8. Only the top two albums each sold more than 100,000.
The No. 10 album this week, the various-artists compilation "All Wrapped Up" (Hollywood), sold 40,000.
The No. 10 album for the same week of 2007, Eagles' "Long Road out of Eden" (ERC), sold 36,000.
Average total of the No. 10 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (2000-2009): 67,151.
Sugarland scores its fourth No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, as "Already Gone" lifts 2-1. The duo previously led with "All I Want to Do" in August, "Settlin' " in May 2007 and "Want To" in December 2006. Since the act's first trip to the top, only Brad Paisley has earned more No. 1s (six), followed by Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney (five each). "Gone" halts a two-week reign for Rascal Flatts' "Here," the trio's ninth No. 1, the most among groups since 2000.
Missy Higgins notches her first top 10 single on any Billboard chart as "Where I Stood" rises from No. 12 to No. 10 on the Adult Contemporary tally in its 19th week on the list. That might seem like a slow climb, but, in 2008, six other singles took 20 weeks or longer to reach the top 10.
On the Hot Dance Club Play chart, Beyonce claims her eighth No. 1 as "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" hits the top this week. It joins her previous No. 1s "Crazy in Love," "Naughty Girl," "Check On It," "Deja Vu," "Ring the Alarm," "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar."
A LOOK AHEAD
Next week's chart should be fairly quiet in terms of debuts as no major albums were released Jan. 6.
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2008 when: Alicia Keys' "As I Am" returned to No. 1, but with only 70,000 (down 38%). The previous week's topper, Radiohead's "In Rainbows," fell to No. 2 with 69,000 (down 44%). There were no debuts in the top 25 and no album sold more than 100,000.