Country Quarter Ends Up 15%

Followers of SoundScan, a division of The Nielsen Company, regularly note that winds of scan blow in tandem with new releases. With that logic in mind, it easily justifies the all genre uptick this week riding on the heels of three new releases, which landed in positions 1, 2 and 3 on the Top current Albums chart—Justin Bieber, Monica and Capitol’s Now33 project. Number four on that list, was Lady Antebellum, scanning another 78,000 units, boosting the trio’s RTD (release-to-date) total to 1.56 million.

Unfortunately, the new release principle didn’t augment sales on the Current Country Album chart since there weren’t any new releases this week. Lady A and Zac Brown Band (24.6k) are now ruling the top two of the country album list. Ms. Swift remains a close third (21k). Swift and ZBB have product that has been on the chart for 72 and 71 weeks respectively, however, the big difference between them is RTD numbers of 1.75 million-ZBB and 5.7 million-TS. Blake Shelton’s six-pak holds down the No. 4 position with sales slightly over 18k this week and a four-week RTD of 138.6k. Newcomer and AI alum Danny Gokey, whose regular price CD was also released four weeks ago sits in the No. 10 spot on this week’s chart with RTD sales of 111.8k.

Country YTD album sales 2010 vs. 2009 are up a healthy 15% as we complete the first quarter which compares nicely with all genre sales, down 8%—a 23 point spread! So while your Humble Scribe is pleased to report great news, one must be reminded that a quarter does not a full year make….and as noted at the top of this report, new releases going forward will determine the year’s upcoming numbers.

In the digital tracks department, witness the sudden new entry inclusion of Uncle Kracker’s “Smile” in the No. 4 position, with almost 25k downloads for the week. (“Smile,” has been on the all genre digital chart for 35 weeks and already sold over 1.1 million downloads.) Is Atlantic getting ready to work the song at country radio?

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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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