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Lady A Goes Double Platinum

The success story continues. Lady Antebellum racked up five trophies at the ACM Awards earlier this month and now comes the news that the band’s latest Need You Now has reached double Platinum certification for shipments of 2 million units. Lady A’s sophomore album is spending its 12th week at No. 1 on the Billboard Country albums chart. Meanwhile, the title track was simultaneously certified triple Platinum.

“We’ve dreamed about these types of milestones, but when it starts to become a reality, it takes a while for it to really settle in,” says Dave Haywood. “We are just trying to take it all in and enjoy the moment and hopefully make our incredible fans really proud.”

The Capitol Records Nashville trio hit another milestone last week, selling out its first headlining show in New York City, set for May 10 at the Nokia Theatre.

Look for the band on Fox’s American Idol on Wed., April 28.

“Avatar” Shatters Records; Rhapsody Plays Offline

When’s the last time an album debuted with sales over 6 million units?

The movie business is booming today with news of the best selling DVD in North American history. Since its release on April 22, James Cameron’s sci-fi opus “Avatar” has moved a total of 6.7 million copies—about 4 million DVDs and 2.7 million Blu-rays. This also makes it the top selling Blu-ray movie in history.

Sales of “Avatar” have grossed about $130 million. The sci-fi smash grossed $2.7 billion at the box office, making it the most successful film in history.

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Music streaming service Rhapsody has a new iPhone application which lets users listen to music even when a data connection is not available. The new offline option stores playlists and tracks on the phone’s memory for playback.

This new option is supposed to significantly extend battery life of the device, and is expected to be useful during travel, and when cell signals are weak.

This technology has been available for some time to users of similar service Spotify in Europe, but Rhapsody is the first to offer it in the United States.

The $10/month music subscription allows listeners to carry music on one portable device, or up to three devices for $15/month. Rhapsody currently has nine million songs in its catalog.

Photos: Underwood Starts Tour; Lambert Scores Gold Single

Carrie Underwood’s Play On Tour opened March 11 in front of a sold-out crowd at the Sovereign Center in Reading, PA with special guests Craig Morgan and Sons of Sylvia. The Play On Tour, hydrated by vitaminwater® and sponsored by PEDIGREE® Brand, is currently slated to run through June 20 in Saskatoon, SK at the Credit Union Centre.

(L-R): Donna DiBenedetto, AEG; Carrie Underwood; and Zane Collings, SMG Regional General Manager.

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Miranda Lambert’s first No. 1 hit single “White Liar” scored big recently with the announcement of its RIAA Digital Single Gold Certification. Her follow-up single, “The House That Built Me,” impacted country radio last week with support from over 100 stations. Both songs are from her Gold certified studio album, Revolution.

Pictured (l-r): Sony Music Nashville Marketing VP Tom Baldrica, Sony Music Nashville Chairman Joe Galante, Sony Music Nashville EVP A&R Renee Bell, Lambert, Sony Music Nashville SVP Sales & Operations Paul Barnabee, Sony Music Nashville Digital Business VP Heather McBee.

Swift Is Top Digital Seller In History

taylor fearlessTaylor Swift has amassed over 24.3 million digital track sales to date, making her the top-selling digital artist ever, according Nielsen SoundScan.

As previously reported by MusicRow, Swift’s Fearless was the best selling album of both 2008 and 2009. It is quintuple Platinum and had sales last year in excess of 3.2 million copies. Taylor claimed the No. 1 and No. 2 positions on Nielsen’s BDS Top 10 Most Played Songs chart (all genres) of ’09, with “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” respectively.

Earlier this week she made a surprise appearance at CES in Las Vegas, where Sony Chairman & CEO Sir Howard Stringer introduced her as the newest Brand Ambassador for Sony Electronics. She will use Sony products in 2010 to share her “beautiful experiences” online and from her upcoming tour which picks back up next month in Australia. At the announcement Swift surprised onlookers with a performance of “Love Story” (see video below).

Swift’s next television performance will be on the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, broadcast live Jan. 31 on CBS. She is nominated for eight Grammys, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year.

She makes her feature film acting debut in Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day, set for US release on Feb. 12. She will also be in an upcoming comic-book style biography from Bluewater Productions called Fame, and her line of American Greetings cards will hit stores in February.

Swift Leads Sales With 3 Weeks Left in ’09

taylor fearlessTaylor Swift could end 2009 as the top selling artist for all genres, for the second year in a row. Her album Fearless has sold more than 2.6 million units this year, and over 4.8 million since it came out in 2008. Her self-titled debut brought in over 600K units this year, plus she has a Christmas album out, making her 2009 total well over 3.3 million [according to Nielsen Soundscan, a division of the Nielsen Company]. Fearless is the bestselling all-genre album of the year, and is still moving units at a rate of over 150K last week.

Hot on Swifty’s heels is Susan Boyle, who has sold 1.8 million units since her album’s release just three weeks ago. In the last week she moved more than 500K, and with three full sales weeks left, she too could finish the year with more than 3 million units.

The Country genre is down 3.4% YTD, while overall music album sales are down 13%. Meanwhile Country Digital Album sales are up 40% over last year.

Country Top 10 YTD
No. 1 Taylor Swift Fearless 2.7 million
No. 2 Hannah Montana Soundtrack 1.7 million
No. 3 Zac Brown Band The Foundation 1.1 million
No. 4 Rascal Flatts Unstoppable 1.08 million
No. 5 Jason Aldean Wide Open 850K
No. 6 Carrie Underwood Play On 840K
No. 7 Lady Antebellum Lady Antebellum 780K
No. 8 Darius Rucker Learn To Live 770K
No. 9 Taylor Swift Taylor Swift 680K
No. 10 Keith Urban Defying Gravity 670K

Top 5 Overall Current YTD
No. 1 Taylor Swift Fearless 2.7 million
No. 2 Lady Gaga Fame 1.8 million
No. 3 Susan Boyle I Dreamed A Dream 1.8 million
No. 4 Hannah Montana Soundtrack 1.7 million
No. 5 Black Eyed Peas The END 1.6 million

[Nielsen Soundscan, a division of the Nielsen Company]

Jason Aldean Goes Platinum

jason aldean newOnly eight months after its release, Jason Aldean’s third studio album Wide Open has been certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipments of one million copies. This makes Aldean the first solo country artist in 2009 to release an album that earned Platinum status in the same calendar year. Wide Open sales were spurred by the No. 1 hits “She’s Country” and “Big Green Tractor.”

Aldean’s first live DVD Wide Open Live & More has also been certified Gold as he wraps up the best year of his career. And he shows no signs of slowing down as his single “The Truth” hits No. 15 on MusicRow’s Country Breakout chart this week.

“Getting my first platinum album back in 2006 was one of the proudest moments in my career so far,” said the Broken Bow Records artist. “Put this one at the top of that list too. 2009 was a really special year for me, and I have so much to be thankful for going into the holidays!”

Kerri Fox-Metoyer Joins Sony as VP Sales

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Kerri Fox-Metoyer has joined Sony Music Nashville as Vice President, Sales. With 18 years of experience, she previously held the same title at Walt Disney Records.

She will spearhead Sony Music Nashville’s initiatives in sales, catalog exploitation, non-traditional and new business initiatives, as well as managing relationships with retail in conjunction with Sony’s distribution arm.

Fox-Metoyer will report directly to Senior Vice President, Sales & Operations, Paul Barnabee. With today’s announcement, Barnabee remarked, “We’re excited to have someone of Kerri’s expertise joining our family. She brings a dynamic perspective to the team as we navigate today’s music environment, working with traditional retail accounts while also identifying new business channels.”

Having previously worked in Tennessee, Fox-Metoyer offered, “I am thrilled to be back in Nashville. I look forward to working with the highly respected Sony Music Nashville family and its amazing roster of artists.”

Fox-Metoyer is on the job now and can be reached at [email protected]

Earlier this month, Sony reps said they also plan to announce a new head of marketing and artist development for Arista Nashville and RCA.

Sugarland Tapped For Grammy Noms Special

Nominees in select Grammy categories will be revealed during a primetime television special airing Wed., Dec. 2, 8 PM/CT on CBS. Sugarland is the first Country group announced to perform on The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night. The Black Eyed Peas and Maxwell are also set for the show hosted by LL Cool J at Club NOKIA in Los Angeles. The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, and be broadcast on CBS.

In more Sugarland news, People.com has an exclusive comedic video of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush promoting their Christmas album Gold And Green. They also taped an episode of GAC Nights in support of the project and GAC Pres. Ed Hardy, Sr. VP Sarah Trahern, and host Suzanne Alexander presented them with a triple platinum plaque for their debut record Twice The Speed of Life and double platinum plaque for Love On The Inside, which vies for Album of the Year at tonight’s CMA Awards.

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(L to R): Suzanne Alexander, Sarah Trahern, Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush and Ed Hardy. Photo: Jenny Dew

Swift’s Record Breaking Chart Run

taylor_swift_13557Taylor Swift’s self-titled debut album broke the record this week as the longest charting album of the decade on the Billboard Top 200. Released in October 2006, the album is spending its 157th week on the all-genre chart, surpassing the previous record held by Nickelback.

Her more recent quadruple-platinum album Fearless has spent more weeks at No. 1 on the same chart than any other album this decade. Big Machine Records released the Platinum edition of Fearless last week, including a CD and DVD.

Tonight (11/2) Swift appears on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, then on Sat., Nov. 7 she is set to host Saturday Night Live, and serve as the show’s musical guest. Only a small number of artists have pulled double duty on the show, including Justin Timberlake, Sting and Janet Jackson.

She is nominated for four CMA Awards at the show on Nov. 11, and is the youngest artist ever nominated for Entertainer of the Year.

McGraw’s Early Sales Numbers And 2010 Tour

Tim McGraw has more than 60 dates on the books for his Southern Voice Tour, opening Feb. 11, 2010 in Omaha. The album of the same name was released on Tuesday (10/20), so first week sales tallies aren’t in yet, but HitsDailyDouble’s building chart has it as the top selling Country title. It is McGraw’s tenth collaboration with producer Byron Gallimore and his first studio effort since Let It Go was released in 2007.

McGraw has loads of summer dates scheduled, currently going through Aug. 15 in Virginia Beach, VA. The tour will feature support from Lady Antebellum for the whole run, with the opening slot being filled by The Lost Trailers for the first leg, and Love And Theft for later dates.

For the arena run, McGraw has partnered with Outback Steakhouse, giving restaurant patrons special access to offers and events surrounding the tour. The “Outback’s Rewards Program” will launch in January 2010, giving away points that can be redeemed for McGraw merchandise, concert tickets, VIP passes, music downloads and an opportunity to register for the text and win sweepstakes. Sweepstakes winners will receive a trip for two to a McGraw concert in Australia.