Week 51 was a monster (ended 12-23-12), but unfortunately unable to muster a gain over 2011. Christmas week country album sales were off a slight .73%, but all-genre for the same one-week period was down a more substantial 15.8%. Meanwhile, lo and behold my stocking was stuffed with a special gift from the good folks at Nielsen SoundScan—a shiny TEA chart which as WR readers know converts track sales into handy album equivalents (10 tracks = one album) and will undoubtedly sharpen our 2013 analysis.
The elves over at Big Machine, must have been working furiously right up ‘til the night before … since Ms. Swift’s Red (the color of Christmas) scanned another 276k units for the week, giving this project an impressive 2.866 million in 9 weeks! Oh yeah and please paste a “No. 1” sticker on it—it easily topped both the country album and Top 200 album lists. The singer-songwriter also was well represented atop the Digital Track list with “I Knew You Were Trouble” moving up to No. 1 with 221k weekly downloads and an RTD of 1.46 million.
Finally, consulting our nifty new TEA rankings, the precocious, ruby-lipped lass added to her weekly Red album sales with a total of 355k downloads from various Red tracks creating a weekly TEA albums total of 311k. The other part of our SS data surprise, “YTD TEA” shows Red with 3.535 million RTD. Tracks ‘n’ TEA added about 19% to Red’s total.
Moving on, we also saw nice jumps for this year’s offerings from Lady Antebellum (No. 2; 78k), Blake Shelton (No. 4; 72k) and Scotty McCreery (No. 9; 48k). Little Big Town (No. 3; 72k) and Jason Aldean (No. 5; 69k) filled in the Top 5. Congrats are a few days premature, but “Cheers!” to Jason as his Night Train will pass the million scans mark before the end of next week.
There’ll be lots to discuss after the end of next week as we close out the stats and shift the analyzer machine into high gear.
But for now you’ll look pretty smart at this weekend’s cocktail parties if you just smile and say, “Yeah, country is doing better than the overall industry—up 3.1%, but not by a whole lot.” Then quietly add, “Labels continued to consolidate this year (Universal and EMI) but it’s exciting to see more than a third of the Top 25 country albums peppered with new faces and fresh sounds.”
Have a safe and happy new year!
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