Week two of the new year offered few surprises for Music City sales and no debuts on Nielsen SoundScan’s Top Current Country list. Red (49k) continued to dominate and was the only title to reach over the 20k bar. Labelmates Florida Georgia Line (FGL) stepped up to No. 2 adding 18k scans and TV soundtrack Music of Nashville took the No. 4 position with 16k in sales giving BMLG three out of the week’s Top 4 country albums. Capitol/UMG filled the remaining Top 5 spots with Luke Bryan (No. 3; 16k); and Little Big Town (No. 5; 16k).
The holiday sales bandwagon has subsided as country album sales fell 21% W/W and Top 75 sales barely reached the low water mark of 260k. A quick glance at the Weekly Grid shows the slowdown in graphic terms—YTD country album sales were up 4.8% last week but one week later are mostly flat (+.8%).
The start of the year is traditionally slow for music sales since fans are are facing the reality of paying down holiday credit card bills. Still, there were non-country debuts from Chris Tomlin (No. 1; 73k) and Undead Hollywood (No. 2; 53k) that topped the all genre list and kept overall album sales in positive Y/Y territory (+4.1%).
If you are looking for something new from Nashville, you can find it on the Digital Genre Country tracks list. Blake Shelton’s “Sure Be Cool If You Did” debuts at No. 1 with almost 98k downloads. Taylor Swift also debuts a new track, “The Moment I Knew” that took the No. 2 position with sales of 79k. Getting No. 3 honorable mention is FGL with “Cruise” adding another 72k units for an RTD of 1.81 million!!!
Watch and see if/how Facebook’s newly introduced Graph Search functionality plays out for the music industry. The beta version of the service, introduced 1/15 by FB CEO Mark Zuckerburg will focus on four main areas—people, photos, places and interests. In many ways the new search system reveals the power of the hive, that is makes it easier to discover likes and dislikes of friends and friends of friends. Will this become a new tool for music discovery? Will artists and labels find ways to “game” the system and make new music more likely to appear? Will Facebook offer these promo serivces for a fee?
With one billion active members, 240 billion photos and trillions of connections, Graph Search could have a profound impact.
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