Early ACM: Don’t believe, even for a minute, that award shows are just about giving out awards. They are about getting your artist a performance slot, attracting viewers and reminding them to go buy music. Last week’s ACM presentation which attracted 12.2 million viewers is an excellent case study.
The smooth production cut presentations to a mere 8 awards spread over three hours and stuffed the remaining time with a grab bag full of music. We’ll have to wait until next week’s SoundScan numbers to gauge the complete results, but a few clues are showing up in this week’s data and it looks promising. Readers of the Weekly Register know that SoundScan’s week closes on Sunday, so the Sunday evening ACM Awards could have little effect on the physical numbers, but digital downloads—albums and tracks—is another story. Country fans are joining the ranks of the “instant gratification” crowd. So let’s see if we can find any clues about how next week’s sales might fare.
Scotty McCreery’s album got a 172% increase this week. However, he also got a 619% digital album increase which accounts for a large share of his increased album sales overall and likely happened Sunday evening. Scotty’s “Water Tower Town” which he previewed on the show didn’t explode, but debuted with almost 15k downloads. Bring beach wear for next week, when we’ll surf the ACM sales wave.
The Weekly Register
Our story today is about finding new markets, fresh sounds and a job well done by Lionel Richie and the Mercury Records crew who also helped push country’s YTD sales up 3.2%. Tuskegee, a collection of duets with high profile country stars flew to the top of the albums chart this week to debut with an impressive 199k units; 33% of which were digital downloads. Richie’s debut week sales were also enough to also reserve the No. 2 spot on the Top 20 all-genre Albums chart, behind Madonna who scanned a robust 359,000 units with 35% of them digital.
Luke Bryan took the No. 2 position on the Country albums list with over 24k units. That white t-shirt, great voice and slick stage moves have propelled his Tailgates & Tanlines effort onto a collision course with a Platinum Award (891k units total). At No. 3, McCreery shifted over 16k units for a total now of over 996k, also nearing the one million mark. Another Top Ten inhabitant is Brantley Gilbert’s Halfway To Heaven album (No. 9; 9k) which has moved over 500k units. The Band Perry appears at No. 10 this week with a little over 8k units, but an impressive total of 1,230,000 units. Additional million-selling artists in the country top ten are Jason Aldean (My Kinda Party 2,480,000) and Lady Antebellum (Own The Night 1,532,000).
Country tracks traveled wide and far this week. Taylor Swift, who often owns this chart clocked in at No. 1 with “Eyes Open” and over 111k downloads. Her “Safe & Sound” landed at No. 3 with over 78k units. Swift also has four additional tracks on the country Top 100. Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Lee Brice also made nice showings with “Drunk On You” (82k), “Springsteen” (73k), “Good Girl” (66k) and “A Woman Like You” (54k) respectively.
Last year at this bend in the road country album sales were down 13% YTD, so as we speed by the first quarter, it feels good to be up over 3%.
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