Weekly Music Sales Report – 11 April 2012

Well, that was weird.  As soon as we got to the international airport in Male in the Maldives, we heard about today’s Indonesian quake.  Since the Maldives are more-or-less a straight unencumbered shot to the west from the quake and its aftershocks, people were rightly concerned.  After all the average elevation about sea level in this country is two–that’s TWO–metres.

As the tension spread, so did the rumours.  The wave was coming at 4:40pm.  No, between 5 and 5:30.  It could be six metres tall. No, it’s just be small because the earthquake was horizontal slippage and not the vertical slippage that caused all the death and destruction in the same region in 2004.

One flight at the airport was cancelled.  People gathered around every available TV.  Worried looks were everywhere.  Then…

…nothing.  Except a huge sigh of relief, of course.  But it was pretty hairy for a while.

Back to music.  Canada has a new #1 album and four new records debuted in the top ten this past week, but none of this can mask the fact that overall sales are down 6% from last week.  No biggie, though, because things are still pacing 6% ahead of 2011.

For those of you graphing the CD’s death spiral, sales are down 6% from last year as of this week.  Meanwhile, digital tracks are running 31% better than this time last year.

At #1, its Nicki Minaj with Pink Friday…Roman Relaoded with 15,000 copies sold.  Other big debuts this week included Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men at #7 with 7,000 copies of My Head Is an Animal.  When was the last time an Icelandic band had a Top 10 debut in this country?  Maybe we should let the country adopt the loonie.  

Our Lady Peace’s new one, Curve, opens at #9 with 6,000 copies (nice, but a far cry from the days when they used to sell 20,000 copies a week of Clumsy.  Those were the days…)  Still, OLP is the third best-selling Canadian band of the SoundScan era.  Who’s ahead of them?  The Hip and Nickelback.

On the digital track front, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Use to Know” is back on top with 33,000 downloads this week.

Now on to ‘Merica.  Two debuts sold over 100K in their first week, moving sales to about 9% ahead of last year.  CD sales are down, of course, falling 8% behind last year.  Digital track sales are running just 8% above 2011.

Nikki Minaj is at #1 with 235,000 copies sold in week one.  Rascal Flatts pulled in at #3 with 130,000 copies of Changed.  And then there’s Of Monsters and Men at #6. Pretty cool for them.

Other thoughts about the US charts:  Adele’s 21 moves back up to #2 with a 26% increase in sales; One Direction refused to go away; Of Monster and Men debuted at #6; and Madonna’s MDNA crashed. Badly.  What went wrong, Madge?

All sales figures courtesy Nielsen SoundScan

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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