Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” stands tall at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a second week, as the set sold 209,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last week, the album bowed atop the list with 481,000, the biggest sales week for a country album since Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 592,000 copies in Nov. 2008.
Lady Antebellum’s second week of 209,000 is down an expected 57% compared to its premiere week. Last year, most high-bowing country albums dropped by anywhere between 55-60% in sales in their second week. And, since Lady A performed the new album’s title track on the Grammy Awards on Jan. 31, the album’s second-week drop-off was softened.
The Grammy Awards hit a high note in the Nielsen ratings, with 25.8 million viewers — the most for the show since 2004 and up 35% compared to last year’s broadcast.
Speaking of the Grammy show, another of its performers, Lil Wayne, debuts at No. 2 with his oft-delayed “Rebirth” set, selling 176,000 copies. It’s the seventh top 10 album for the hip-hop king, who was scheduled to be sentenced to a year-long prison term yesterday, but saw the sentencing delayed due to dental surgery.
Wayne of course saw his last album, “Tha Carter III,” debut at No. 1 in 2008 with 1 million sold in its first week. “Rebirth” actually did better than initially projected, as last Tuesday (Feb. 2), industry prognosticators initially estimated that the album was going to sell in the neighborhood of 125,000 to 150,000.
The Grammy love continues with the chart’s second-highest debuting album, Nick Jonas & the Administration’s “Who I Am” at No. 3 with 82,000. The Jonas brother didn’t perform on the Grammys, but he and his brothers Joe and Kevin did introduce another trio’s performance — Lady Antebellum’s. Nick’s proper solo debut also starts better than expected, as last week some observers had the album launching with around 60,000 to 65,000 copies.
The third and final debut in the top 10 is an act that, while not part of the Grammy Awards festivities, has been nominated multiple times previously — Rob Zombie. His “Hellbilly Deluxe 2” starts at No. 8 with 49,000. The set is the rocker/director’s first effort on Loud & Proud/Roadrunner after having spent almost 18 years with Geffen Records. Zombie’s last studio set, “Educated Horses,” opened at No. 5 with 108,000 in 2006.
As for the holdovers on the chart that populate the top 10 this week, all but one of them have an explicit connection to the Grammy Awards. (And even the one that didn’t — Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed at Dream” — was joked about on the show by presenter and winner Stephen Colbert.)
Show-opener and two-time winner Lady Gaga sees her “The Fame” get pushed down one spot to No. 4, but sells 79,000 (up 17%). Outside the top 10, her “Fame Monster” EP drops two rungs to No. 12 with 34,000 (up 8%). The “2010 Grammy Nominees” compilation climbs three slots to No. 5 with 71,000 (up 55%), while performer and winner the Black Eyed Peas’ “The E.N.D.” jumps four spots to No. 6 with 70,000 (up 76%).
Taylor Swift, who not only won four trophies (two of them on air) but also performed on the show, sees her album of the year winner “Fearless” rise from No. 13 to No. 7 with 53,000 (up 58%). The aforementioned Boyle falls five spots to No. 9 with 46,000 (down 21%). Finally, best new artist winner Zac Brown Band reaches the top 10 for the first time with “The Foundation,” as it climbs 12 slots to No. 10 with 40,000 (up 82%).
Outside the top 10, Grammy shines on a bevy of albums that make great strides up the chart. Among the most notable increases: Performer and winner Beyoncé rises 21 rungs to No. 14 with “I Am … Sasha Fierce” (32,000; up 101%). Beyoncé won two trophies during the broadcast, along with another four during the pre-show, for a total of six wins — marking the most by a female artist on one night in Grammy history. (Her total career haul? 16 — the third-most of all female artists.)
Pink’s show-stopping performance of “Glitter in the Air” aids the surge of her “Funhouse” album, which flies from No. 61 to No. 15 with 31,000 (up 234%). It also doesn’t hurt that Pink chatted and performed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on Feb. 5. Record of the year winner Kings of Leon see its “Only by the Night” set jump from No. 39 to No. 24 with 24,000 (up 66%). Album of the year nominee (and performer) Dave Matthews Band rises from No. 93 to No. 47 with “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” (13,000; up 114%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Feb. 7) totaled 6.72 million units, up 3.3% compared to the sum last week (6.50 million) and down 8.3% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (7.32 million).