I'm pretty fascinated by the sale of music. Specifically, I enjoy looking at the raw data of how much CDs sell on a certain basis. Which CDs sell huge their first week, which ones stick around selling for awhile.
Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much raw data on the internet for CD sales. This is because companies pay for that data, and if you can get it online for free, why bother paying for it? It's easy to find the weekly charts like Billboard, but they don't really contain much data.
A few years back I found the "Global Track Chart" which somehow manages to keep data for the top selling albums on a world wide level each week. I have no clue how accurate it is (seems silly to lie?), but the trends seem to matchup with the trends on legitimate charts. I follow it each week, and from time to time, I'm hoping to type up some thoughts about it. Here's my first crack.
Last Week's World Wide Album Sales
Dave Matthews Band debuted at number one this week. I'm not a fan of DMB, but it was pretty obvious this would debut at number one, as they're huge in North America. I am surprised to hear it's been 4 years since the last album. Seems like a long time for a band that could drop a new CD and have massive sales.
Eminem and Green Day are numbers 2 and 3, obviously.
Lady Gaga at number 4, based on the strength of her first two singles I'd have to think, as any other song I've heard off the album is garbage. But, in this era two legitimately great songs is enough to have a "Great" record, so I'll give her credit.
Nana Mizuki - Ultimate Diamond is at number 7. No clue, but I notice Japanese acts tend to have one huge first week, and then die off. It's rare to see a Japanese artist stick on that chart for more then one or two weeks.
Since it is world wide, it's fascinating for me to see artists in the top 40 who I've never heard of before. Eros Ramazzotti, Paul Potts, Wisin & Yandel, Christophe Williem, and Escala are all acts I've never heard of, but apparently are doing well, interesting.
Kings of Leon at 11 is amazing. That album's been on the charts for 37 weeks, and has sold easily over 2 million albums, yet it's still selling 60K a week world wide. Good for them, as they flew under the radar in North America for a long time, but their rise from obscurity to being one of the biggest bands in the world is amazing. I wonder if their next disc will be able to live up to the hype? Like Lady Gaga, they had two amazing songs (Sex on Fire and Use Somebody), and the album's lived off those two songs. Kings of Leon's future is really interesting right now - what comes next?
Rock and Roll debuts take up the second quarter! Rancid at number 10, 311 at 12, Taking Back Sunday at 14, and Chickenfoot at 15. I wouldn't have predicted that order. The thing is, 311 and Rancid have devoted fanbases, and after they've exhausted that, they'll drop off huge. Taking Back Sunday will get a lot more radio play and attention for their album, so I'd expect that disc to have more legs then 311 and Rancid. All three are really good discs from really good bands who have managed to carve out strong niches for themselves. The Chickenfoot thing is odd, that's a good number for a band that's only market seems to be people who cannot wait for new Van Halen music, but I'd expect it to die within a month. Has anyone heard a song off that disc?
311 and Rancid both outsold The Black Eyed Peas. I know that won't last, as BEP will sell more overall, but that really makes me love the world. Odd that a new BEP disc did so poorly. Weren't they one of the biggest pop acts in the world at one point?
Pink and Beyonce have really gotten good mileage out of their new discs, but not as good as Kings of Leon, which is amazing to me.
Elvis Costello had a new album out and it debuted at 30. Seems odd, but probably not. I think Elvis was always a bit more of a cool/edgy artist compared to a lot of the people who seem to be his peers as he gets older.
If Beyonce, Pink and Lady Gaga are her peers (pop females), then Kelly Clarkson's disc has to be a disapointment. Despite being out for a third of the time, its selling way less. Sucks for Kelly.
Number 1, DMB sold almost 440 000 copies. Number 40, Phoenix (a supeb album) sold 23000. That discrepancy seems huge to me, and is really indicative of how poor album sales are. Only four discs sold over a 100K this week, and only 15 could sell over 50K.
I know this is all useless, but my brain's shot and can't think of anything better.