Ah, who doesn’t love a good ‘come-up’ story? Schoolboy Q has reason to celebrate as his third LP Oxymoron takes over the no. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. Apparently, them “Collard Greens” were pretty potent, as 139,000 people decided to add Oxymoron to their music collection. 139,000 copies isn’t the ‘end all be all’ in regards to album sales, but its definitely sound for what could be considered an up-and-comer, even three albums into a rap career. Compared to his colleague Kendrick Lamar, the numbers are less favorable (Good Kid M.A.A.D. City missed the top spot, but sold 241,000 copies), though Kendrick also had bigger buzz surrounding him at the time, not to mention the fourth quarter to propel him.
Schoolboy Q fended off that feisty Frozen Soundtrack, which continues to put up respectable numbers. This week, the magic number for the runner up was 91,000, which according to billboard.com was an increase from the previous week. Frozen kept another new release and veteran, Beck from the runner-up spot. Beck settles for no. 3 with 87,000 copies sold of Morning Phase, his first album in six years. Even though Beck couldn’t match a previous high watermark – a no. 2 peak for 2005 effort Guero – or its robust 162,000 copies start, he managed to outperform prognostications.
Surprise albums seem to be all the rage these days, with Kid Cudi’s oddball Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon fitting right into the trend. Kid Cudi doesn’t quite have the Beyoncé effect, but does debut at no. 4 with 87,000 copies. Compared to last year’s slightly more accessible Indicud, the numbers are down for the left-field rapper. In fact, Satellite Flight is Cudi’s lowest debuting album as of yet. The next closest in terms of his discography was his debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which sold 104,000 good for a no. 4 bow. Previous album Indicud debuted at no. 2 selling 136,000 copies. Indicud was a drop-off itself, specifically from Cudi’s sophomore album, Man on the Moon: The Legend of Mr. Rager, which debuted at no. 3, but sold 169,000 copies. Is Scott Mescudi just too odd for sustainable commercial success? Perhaps.
Keeping things close (and new), Romeo Santos debuts at no. 5 with Formula: Vol. 2. Formula sold 85,000 copies, awesome numbers for a Latin album. Dierks Bentley didn’t quite get in on the “80s” action (80K that is), but Riser did debut at no. 6 with 63,000 copies. 63,000 copies doesn’t have much of a ceiling itself, but Bentley isn’t exactly country’s most consistent selling male artist. Still, 63,000 copies isn’t too shabby. The Fray would’ve enjoyed being even remotely close to 63K; they settle for a no. 8 bow and 37,000 copies sold of Helios. Seems like the popularity of “Over My Head (Cable Car)” hasn’t translated to the band’s more recent efforts. Other than Frozen, the only holdovers are Eric Church (The Outsiders), Now 49, and Beyoncé (Beyoncé). Good sales week – finally!
Pharrell Williams goes into next week’s chart with the momentum of retaining no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Happy“). Pharrell’s second solo album GIRL is one of the competitive albums fighting for the top two spots on next week’s chart. Second solo album you ask? Well ole boy released In My Mind a couple of years back and snagged a Grammy-nomination for the LP. Rick Ross should have no. 1 locked up as he releases his sixth LP, Mastermind. With the exception of Ross’ best LP (in my opinion), Teflon Don, Ross has locked down no. 1 four previous times. Lea Michele wishes she could muster up the numbers expected from Ross or Williams, but according to Billboard prognostications, she won’t come close. And as for Eli Young Band, well 10,000 Towns is far behind. I won’t even mention Ashanti’s Brave Heart – it doesn’t have a shot.
Oh and going back to the Billboard Hot 100, what about my homeboy John Legend breaking into that top four (last week I believe)? Who would’ve thought that “All Of Me”, an old school, piano-driven ballad would be a hit in 2014? It remains at no. 4 this week according to Billboard. Rock on John, rock on!
I don’t blame her in the least – Not even an ounce! Candice Glover, like millions of others, went into American Idol with the dream of being a superstar. And the thing is, Glover has superstar talent, sporting one of the better voices to win the competition. But as has been proven time and time again, it takes more than talent to win over America… and I’m not talking about the American Idol viewing audience. By win over America, I’m referring to those near-extinct, extremely archaic things called album sales. Judging by the title, you can tell my girl’s sales are… “U-G-LY/ you ain’t got no alibi” Yes. What’s the word on the street? That on tomorrow’s Billboard 200 Chart, Candice Glover’s Music Speaks is a new entry at no. 14 with 19,000 copies sold. 19,000 copies! “Damn” (Track number four BTW). I won’t bore you with the stats of other victor’s albums sales, but know that comparatively, the robust-voiced Glover truly ‘laid an egg.’
Back in 2013, I penned a post entitled “Five Reasons Why Candice Glover May Have an Uphill Battle”. The give reasons were as follows back then: (1) low American Idol ratings, (2) unremarkable single sales (“I Am Beautiful”), (3) R&B continues to trend down, (4) lax promotion, and (5) major record labels tend to have a ‘short leash’. I went on to make the following prediction to conclude the post:
“Candice’s first album may compromise her talent/potential talent level by being rushed by a quick ‘turn-around’ date. The album will likely have insufficient promotion, hurt by ailing Idol ratings, poor single reception/sales, and a lack of deeper monetary investment. Because of this, the album will likely fall short in the sales department… Hopefully my pessimism is a Worst-case scenario. I wish Candice the upmost success and career.
As much as I hate to say it, many of my guesses were accurate. Believe me, as a hardcore fan of Glover, I hoped that my fortune-telling ways truly stank. But, having seen how often an album is “done” before it even has a chance over the years, this is no surprise. Of those five reasons, Glover’s ugly numbers are directly related to – DING, DING, DING – all five. The sole reason you could argue might be excused is the downtrend of R&B. R&B is still cooling, though there has been some success with albums by Beyoncé (Beyoncé) and Toni Braxton & Babyface (Love, Marriage & Divorce). That said, those are all established artists and Candice Glover was the winner of the least heralded season of an aging show. Oh well. Can’t cry over spilt milk?
Sooooo…What’s a talented artist to do? Keep on hustling another day. Make the most of the lot that is being given. The ceiling of the numbers is definitely discouraging, but as Ellie Goulding said best, “Anything Could Happen.” Do I believe it will… it’s another pessimistic no, unfortunately.
From one compilation to another, Now 49 debuts at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. In yet another sub 100,000 copies week, Now 49 sells 98,000 copies. Frozen doesn’t fall too far from grace – it is no. 2 and managed to sell another 88,000 copies. The big news on the charts is how much of an impact the Super Bowl had on Bruno Mars, who’s Unorthodox Jukebox returns to the top 3, with 81,000 copies sold. While his compilation contemporaries may not have near the bragging rights given their numbers, Mars should be proud. Unorthodox Jukebox was released in December 2012 and in February 2014 has managed to re-enter the top echelon of the charts. Now that’s swag.
Now 49 wasn’t the only debut. Toni Braxton & Babyface surprisingly outperform as Love Marriage & Divorce sells 67,000 copies, goo for a bow at no. 4. Sure 67,000 copies still doesn’t leave the duo a great ceiling, but it’s respectable given the status of R&B these days… well save for ‘Yoncé. Broken Bells land at no. 5 with their sophomore album, After The Disco. 44,000 copies isn’t too shabby considering Broken Bells isn’t exactly a household name. Lil Mix isn’t either, yet their sophomore album Salute lands at no. 6 with 43,000 copies. The numbers don’t exactly equate to prolonged success mind you, but in some regards, all four of the newbies on the chart performed better than I anticipated at least.
“Dark Horse” she’s not ladies and gentleman as Katy Perry continues to shine atop the Billboard Hot 100 with pal Juicy J. Changing gears though, as for who’s got next on the albums chart, put your money on Eric Church’s latest, The Outsiders. Church’s previous studio album, Chief debuted at no. 1. This is a relatively quiet release week.
It’s been an awesome winter for the Frozen Soundtrack, as it spends yet another week atop the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. This week, the album sold another 94,000 copies according to Billboard.com. On the one hand, it is good that there is an album that’s infusing the industry with some, well, sales. On the other hand – the more pessimistic one – yet another sub 100,000 copies week is amongst us with sales down. Still, close by Frozen is another compilation the Grammy Nominees 2014, which remains at no. 2, but surges in sales with 87,000 copies sold. Both albums post gains, which are pros, but the realist in me has an observation to make.
In years past, Grammy-award winning albums or nominees who performed have sold massive numbers to top-load the charts following the week after the Grammys. This time, a holdover soundtrack remains the album to beat, while the Grammy compilation itself outsells victorious albums. It definitely says something about the sales of albums in recent times. Personally, I don’t see record sales regaining their swagger, save for a blockbuster like Beyoncé’s Beyoncé, which sits at no. 5 this week.
But enough chitter chatter, what about the new albums – that’s what y’all came for right? Of Mice & Men bow at no. 4 with Restoring Force selling 51,000 copies. Casting Crowns’ latest, Thrive, starts at no. 6 with 43,000 copies sold. For Casting Crowns, a Christian band, these numbers are actually underwhelming considering the success the band has had in recent times. If this were any other Christian or gospel act, 43,000 copies and a number six bow would be remarkable. However, Casting Crowns has both peaked and sold more robustly in the past, namely 2007 album The Altar and The Door which debuted at no. 2 with 129,000 copies. Still, 43,000 in the current music economy is sound…I suppose.
Other than Yoncé’s small gain, Other Grammy winners saw some increases, though not like years in the past. The percentages are similar to the past, but the actual amount of sales isn’t. Those included in the gains are Lorde, Bruno Mars, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, and album of the year victor, Daft Punk. Daft Punk perhaps get the shortest end of the stick for an album of the year winner as Random Access Memories rose to no. 10, but only moved 31,000 copies. Sure, the French duo rose 300% in sales according to Billboard.com, but remember that’s relative to the current music economy, which is down. Herbie Hancock’s upset victory a couple of years back (over Kanye West and Amy Winehouse) scored him a top 5 album with 54,000 copies sold. Adele and Mumford & Sons, both album of the year winners, had huge surges following the Grammys. It is what it is though. At least Daft Punk and the rest of us were able to “Get Lucky” all summer long – no pun intended.
Ultimately, the Grammys’ influence makes this a busier chart week, even if the optimism is only short-lived and doesn’t match the same amount of sales of the past. Next week, among new albums arriving include Broken Bells (After The Disco), Now 49, and a duets album courtesy of Toni Braxton & Babyface (Love, Marriage & Divorce). Bruno Mars’ sales may still rise depending on how much impact his awesome Super Bowl halftime performance had beginning on Monday, the day once sales are tallied for the new week. His full gain in sales probably wouldn’t have been felt on Sunday, the day of the big game… well lopsided game.
The Frozen soundtrack ascends back to no. 1, selling 93,000 copies. For a soundtrack, the sales have been quite impressive. The next closest album, 2014 Grammy Nominees is nowhere near Frozen’s sales, landing at no. 2 selling 59,000 copies. Next week, however, billboard.com prognosticates the compilation could rise to no. 1, with 85,000 copies sold. Still, 85,000 copies aren’t exactly breathtaking numbers. Still below that 100,000 copies mark.
Singer/songwriting duo A Great Big World enter at no. 3 with 48,000 copies sold. For relative unknown newbies, save for the huge “Say Something” that is a top five Hot 100 hit, those are decent sales. Young The Giant bow at no. 7 with Mind Over Matter, which sales 34,000 copies. Other wise, the top ten features holdovers. The no. 1 album sells 93,000 copies vs. the no. 10 album selling 24,000 copies. Nothing too sexy, but it is what it is.
Katy Perry has added another no. 1 to her belt, as “Dark Horse” featuring Juicy J rises to no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Timber” couldn’t stay no. 1 forever… Ultimately, quite a boring week, much like January as a whole has been.
Bruce Springsteen lands at a familiar position, no.1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. High Hopes didn’t exactly deliver killer numbers, but the 99,000 copies it moved was enough to give The Boss another notch in his belt… err another no. 1 album. Perhaps the more negative view of Springsteen’s latest number one is the likelihood of an unfavorable overall ceiling for the album. Folks, where are 99,000 copies going? That’s rhetorical.
Other albums debut, albeit so-so. Kidz Bop’s umpteenth album arrives at no. 3, behind the Frozen soundtrack. The 76,000 copies are actually respectable, but certainly doesn’t paint an optimistic picture for albums sales as a whole. Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) manages to sell 54,000 copies of her solo debut, That Girl. The album arrives at no. 5. Switchfoot proceeds at no. 6 with Fading West, selling a modest 39,000 copies. Ick! Otherwise the top 10 looks familiar: Beyoncé, Lorde, Eminem, Katy Perry, and Imagine Dragons. January is in full swing.
Unsurprisingly, “Timber” continues to rock out on the Billboard Hot 100. Hey, somebody’s gotta live it up in the dead of January, why not Pitbull and Ke$ha? As for this coming week, look for the Grammy Nominees album and A Great Big World (Is There Anybody Out There?) to make some chart noise. Just how loud that noise is… probably piano (aka soft).
Beyoncé tried to reclaim the glory of being number one – something that she did for three consecutive weeks, but Disney’s popular Frozen film has also taken the music world a storm remaining atop the Billboard 200. The numbers are ugly, but a number one album is a number one album right? Well, sort of… Frozen sold only 86,000 copies. 86,000 copies for the top-selling album in the country is pretty modest. That said, it’s January and the charts are a ‘hot mess’ early on in the year. ‘Yoncé didn’t find herself to far behind, moving 79,000 more copies of Beyoncé. The ‘visual album’ has sold like a beast, selling over 1.5 million in five short weeks. Yes girl, you are “***Flawless”.
The top ten is pretty quiet this week, though Kid Ink arrived with In My Own Lane at number three. The drop off between albums two and three is pretty wide though – Ink sold 50,000 copies. It is what it is. After that, the top ten keeps Eminem, Lorde, One Direction, Katy Perry and Imagine Dragons. Miley Cyrus regains her swag to rejoin ‘elite’ company with horrific numbers (can you say a legit “Wrecking Ball”). The most shocking re-entrance in the top ten comes from R. Kelly. Still, according to Billboard, not too many folks were on them Black Panties – the album sold 17,000 copies! So the top ten ranges between 17,000 and 86,000 copies in sales. Add the approximate sales totals of the top ten and what do you get? 385,000 copies… It took ten albums to sell that much. Record execs everywhere are cringing.
On the Hot 100, Pitbull and Ke$ha keeps things “going down” with “Timber.” They might as well, as little else is going down. Thankfully, a hot release week should infuse some life into the albums chart next week. Bruce Springsteen should definitely bring some High Hopes after such tepid numbers this week. Also, don’t count out Jennifer Nettles – surely some of that Sugarland crowd will join her for the solo ride That Girl. Also don’t underestimate the power of parents buying wholesome music for their offspring. Kidz Bop, it sells people! Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings may not be a household name, but those who have a soft spot for retro-soul – the real deal mind you – will eat up Give The People What They Want. Record companies have done a fine job of stacking January 14, 2014 with interesting releases… hopefully people partake.
Beyoncé couldn’t get it done for a fourth consecutive week…sigh. She gives up her throne this week to the Frozen soundtrack. Between Frozen and Beyoncé – albums nos. 1 and 2 – they’re the only albums to sell over 100,000 copies this week. Christmas has come and gone folks! Frozen grows in sales moving 165,000 copies, while Beyoncé shrinks to 130,000 copies. For Beyoncé, this is the fourth consecutive week it moves six figures. According to billboard.com, the album has already surpassed 4 in total album sales and has sold just short of 1.5 million. After Beyoncé and Frozen, there’s not much noise on the charts. Familiar names rule the top ten with a reduced percentage in sales. Those familiar names/artists – Eminem (The Marshall Mathers LP 2), Katy Perry (PRISM), One Direction… you get the idea.
On the singles chart, well, according to Pitbull and Ke$ha, “it’s going down…” aka “Timber” crows the Hot 100, dethroning the “Rap God” himself, Eminem (“The Monster” featuring Rihanna). One has to admit, “Timber” is catchy. That said, inevitably, “what goes up, must come down”. It may be “going down” now Pit and Ke$ha, but the ride won’t last always… LOL.
Whose Got Next? Kid Ink (My Own Lane) is the only notable album released on Tuesday, January 7. Steve Malkmus & The Jicks also arrives, but isn’t likely to generate much buzz. How well the Kid Ink set will sell, only time will tell.
This one is short and sweet… but informative.
Beyoncé continues her stint at no. 1, with fifth LP Beyoncé moving another 310,000 copies. What’s interesting about that total is that that’s about how many copies 4 sold when it debuted! In total, Beyoncé has sold 1.3 million copies in three short weeks! Now who’s “working” Britney? Three other albums sold more than 100,000 copies – One Direction (Midnight Memories), Eminem (The Marshall Mathers LP 2), and Frozen Soundtrack. Katy Perry didn’t do too shabby for herself either, as Prism closed out a highflying top five with 99,000 copies. Go on and “roar” girl!
New releases definitely didn’t play a role in this weeks chart, nor will they next week; the dead of January is firmly upon us. So buy those albums you missed/slept on or replay the new classics of 2013. Otherwise, there won’t be a lot to add to the collection…
Cutting straight to the chase, Justin Bieber probably had the crappiest year of his entire career. Honestly, it was plumb terrible. It was sort of like my favorite college basketball team, the Kentucky Wildcat’s fall from glory during the 2012-13 season after dominating the previous season with their eighth NCAA title. Yeah, it was that bad. The problem is, even experiencing so many PR miscues, few – save for the most loyal Beliebers – ‘gave a what’. Personally, feeling sympathy for one of the most privileged 19-year olds in the world, whose living a dream that only a select few ever reach just isn’t an emotion that registers at this point. Maybe, as Bieber suggests, it is because he is Justin Bieber that there is such an outcry against him. Perhaps, it’s more that Bieber, who became a success overnight at such a young age, just comes over as an arrogant a-hole, something he specifically said he didn’t feel one Kanye West was (“Kanye West isn’t really an a$$hole…”). Personally, his cockiness has been my rub on Bieber throughout his recent career.
The most recent FAIL speaks to at least partially to the arrogance of the Bieber brand as well. The expectation for the tatted teen-heartthrob has become that everything that he touches turns into gold. Basically, anything that is associated with the Bieber name or brand, will generate a tone of the green stuff for the labels, managers, and of course Bieber. As many apparently didn’t know judging by the numbers, Justin Bieber released his second movie, Believe on Christmas Day. While this film has been referenced a couple of times, the most overt promotional campaign directed toward this documentary seemed to be “all wrong from the start”. Don’t let its seemingly lackadaisical promotion completely fool you though; the PR team has had some subtle tricks up their sleeves. They haven’t been successful per say, but they did do some ‘work’.
Is it such a coincidence that Justin Bieber released and completed his ‘Music Mondays’ just prior to the release of Believe the film? The Music Mondays series were centered on Bieber’s ‘journals’, obviously positioned to be more personal than his bubblegum pop music. In other words, Music Mondays tries to eschew anything remotely sounding like “Beauty and the Beat”. The word ‘journals’ was thrown around not so subtly, leading one to believe that Bieber’s promotional team had bigger plans for random contemporary R&B tracks being thrown around. If there weren’t bigger plans in the works, the release of the mature “PYD” featuring R. Kelly surely had to signify something… it actually drew critical praise throughout online circles, including from me. The ends of those ‘journals’ – an iTunes promotion that groups the tracks together for a brief period of time right before Christmas (December 23) and even more strategically the same week that Believe the film drops. So – If the movie bombs, then that means Bieber is still getting paper from Journals? Seems that way!
While Completing Bieber’s Journals was a huge promotional trick, another risky one failed miserably, in theory. Bieber tossed around this idea he planned to retire at the age of 19… Most hilarious, if ‘hopeful-it-does-really-happen’ joke I’ve heard all year… Anyone who serious thinks this dude is going anywhere – unless his sales completely go under – is cray cray. Bieber has become a fixture, regardless of positivity or negativity, and is quite prosperous to both him self and the industry. Sources seem to confirm that this was another one of Bieber’s completely horrid jokes, much like when he showed his booty on Instagram. While it may have been Bieber just playing around, the timing could also suggest this was another way to drive home some sales for that Believe film.
My beloved beliebers I'm officially retiring—
Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 25, 2013
The media talks a lot about me.They make a up a lot of lies and want me to fail but I'm never leaving you, being a belieber is a lifestyle.—
Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 25, 2013
Ultimately, the promotions have not worked for Believe as it has underperformed even with lowered expectations according to first day numbers. Fear not Bieber, your movie may not have a chance in the least to top the movie charts, but you did manage to top Billboard’s Social 50 chart, if that’s any consolation. That said, the Social 50 chart certainly doesn’t make the rich any richer, unless your fuel is publicity… BUT, does his social popularity, particular with his most devoted fans, still signal Bieber has plenty of pop life in him? Perhaps. There is always a new teen-pop star as well as a fresher trend waiting (likely Austin Mahone), but Bieber’s empire may not come completely crumbling in 2014. Time and the climate of music will be the big predictor of how Bieber will fare in the future.
- Justin Bieber ‘Believe’ Movie Review Roundup: What Do Critics Say? (rightcelebrity.com)
- No One Saw Justin Bieber’s Movie (thewire.com)
- Justin Bieber Enjoys a “Confident” Lady on Music Monday’s Latest (brentmusicreviews.com)
- The Man Behind Justin Bieber (esquire.com)
- Director Jon M. Chu Talks JUSTIN BIEBER’S BELIEVE, Comparing Concert Tours to Feature Films, G.I. JOE 3, RUN, MATCHED, and More (collider.com)
- Justin Bieber Movie Bombs at the Box Office (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- ‘Justin Bieber’s Believe’ Review: Portrait of an Artist Who’s No Longer a ‘Baby’ (thewrap.com)