According to Nielsen SoundScan, the week ended 5-9-2010 saw country sales jump 12% from the previous seven days thanks to the Mother’s Day holiday, a new Zac Brown Band live offering (26k) and the Courtyard Hounds debut (61k). Country debuts usually boast a digital percentage of 20% or less, but ZBB fans downloaded 43% of those 26k sales!
The Hounds, whose members include two thirds of the Dixie Chicks, were not admitted to SoundScan’s country sales list, but iTunes seemed quite comfortable highlighting the project in its country area and giving it strong visibility.
Lady Antebellum continued to pace the pack staying on top of the Current Country Top 75 with 97k units, a jump of 28%. Other Top Ten CDs enjoying a holiday surge were newly engaged Miranda Lambert (No. 4;+27%; 23k), Carrie Underwood (No. 5; +32%; 19k), Taylor Swift (No. 6; +14%; 16k), Lady Antebellum’s debut CD (No. 7; +32%; 12k), and Alan Jackson (No. 9; +22%; 10k).
Digital country tracks showed few surprises with Lady A., Miranda and ZBB getting many of the downloads. Jaron and the Long Road to Love’s “Pray For You,” however climbed from No. 4 to No. 3 getting over 37k downloads for the week. Other’s in the Top Ten include Joe Nichols, Luke Bryan, Uncle Kracker and Jerrod Niemann all of whom downloaded from 20-25k units for the week.
The industry overall was up 11% offering a bouquet of new releases designed to attract holiday shoppers—in fact, half of the Top 20 all genre Current Albums contained new debuts. Country YTD sales remain off from last year 3.9%, however, digital country album sales are up 25.6%. Last year at this time the percentage of country album sales that were digital downloads was 6.5%. This year the number has risen to 7% of the approximately 13.8 million country units sold YTD.