U2’s “No Line On The Horizon” (Interscope) was the best-selling album by an international act in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2009, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.
The Irish rock group’s 12th album is No. 2 overall for sales this year, behind Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” (Big Machine), which was the best-selling album of the quarter with 824,000 units. U2 is currently enjoying a fourth week atop the European Top 100 Albums chart.
Overall, there are 33 international artist albums on the Top 200 sellers for the quarter. That figure does not include compilations and various-artists releases that have a strong international presence, such as the “Slumdog Millionaire” soundtrack (Interscope), featuring Indian composer A R Rahman. “Slumdog” sold 236, in the quarter, making it the No. 22 album overall.
Although it was not released until March 3, U2’s set achieved sales of 744,000 in Q1, comfortably ahead of Nickelback’s “Dark Horse” (Roadrunner). The Canadian rock outfit’s album was third overall with sales of 576,000, making it the No. 2 biggest-selling international artist album. Nickelback also has a second album in the Top 200 sellers for Q1: “All The Right Reasons” is at No. 105 overall, moving 79,000 copies in the quarter.
The other international acts with two albums in the 200 are Anglo-Australian rock band AC/DC (“Black Ice” is No. 55 with sales of 132,000; “Back In Black” is No. 110 with sales of 75,000) and Canadian singer Michael Buble, although both his Reprise sets – “Call Me Irresponsible” and “It’s Time” – are near the bottom of the survey, at No. 197 and No. 178 respectively.
Robert Plant has two entries, with the Grammy-winning “Raising Sand” (Rounder) duets album with Alison Krauss reaching No. 31 on sales of 198,000, making it the fifth biggest-selling international artist album, while the Led Zeppelin compilation “Mothership” (Atlantic) is at No. 133 on sales of 62,000.
The third biggest-selling international artist album was Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends” (Capitol), moving 260,000 copies. It was No. 19 overall, with the band’s Grammy wins likely boosting sales in the quarter.
Soulful U.K. singer Adele also benefited from her two Grammy wins. Her debut set “19” (Columbia) was the No. 4 international album, her sales of 230,000 out-performing Welsh singer Duffy’s debut set. Although Duffy (another Grammy winner) is the bigger artist in the two singers’ home market, scoring the top-selling album of 2008 according to the Official Charts Co with sales of 1.68 million, she does not quite make the top 10 international best-sellers in the U.S. this year. “Rockferry” is No. 73 overall with sales of 107,000 for Q1, making it the 13th biggest international artist album.
Although Rihanna is from Barbados, the R&B singer launched her career in the U.S. with Def Jam, so is not treated as an international artist for this breakdown. Her “Good Girl Gone Bad” (Def Jam) is at No. 29 on the overall chart for Q1 with sales of 205,000.
The Top 10 international artist albums for Q1 are as follows:
1 U2 “No Line On The Horizon” (Interscope) 744,000
2 Nickelback “Dark Horse” (Roadrunner) 576,000
3 Coldplay “Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends” (Capitol) 260,000
4 Adele “19” (Columbia) 230,000
5 Robert Plant & Alison Krauss “Raising Sand” (Rounder) 198,000
6 Lily Allen “It’s Not Me, It’s You” (Capitol) 150,000
7 Seal “Soul” (Warner Bros.) 148,000
8 AC/DC “Black Ice” (Columbia) 132,000
9 Leona Lewis “Spirit” (J) 127,000
10 Theory Of A Deadman “Scars & Souvenirs” (Roadrunner) 125,000