Chart Watch Extra: The First Six Months
As it turns out, a lot of people wanted to go thrift shopping with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The pair’s first hit, “Thrift Shop” (featuring Wanz), was the biggest hit of the first half of 2013. The genial hip-hop smash sold 5,558,000 copies in the first half of the year, which establishes a new digital sales record. It breaks the record set last year by “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra, which sold 5,501,000 copies in the first half.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis has a second song in the mid-year top 10. “Can’t Hold Us” (featuring Ray Dalton) is #6, with sales of 3,129,000 in the first half. This marks the first time than an artist has had two songs in the mid-year top 10 since Katy Perry scored two years ago with “E.T.” (featuring Kanye West) and “Firework.” It marks the first time that a new artist has achieved the feat since B.o.B scored in 2010 with “Airplanes” (featuring Hayley Williams) and “Nothin’ On You” (featuring Bruno Mars).
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were at the forefront of the hottest trend of the first half of the year: the blurring of racial lines between pop and R&B. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are both white, but their sound is rooted in R&B and hip-hop. “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” were #1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for 21 consecutive weeks. Two other hits in the mid-year top 10 are also what used to be called “blue-eyed soul”: “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z and (the appropriately titled) “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. + Pharrell.
Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience was the top album of the first six months. The album, Timberlake’s first since 2006, sold 2,037,000 copies in the first half. This marks the first time that a new release has sold 2 million copies in the first half of the year since Adele’s 21 sold 2,517,000 copies in the first half of 2011. The top new album of 2012, Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee, sold 912K copies in the first half. (As a holdover, 21 sold 3,668,000 copies in the first half of 2012, a period which included its Grammy sweep.)
Timberlake’s album sold more copies in the first half than its two closest rivals combined. Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox sold 985K copies in the first half. Mumford & Sons’ Babel sold 884K. (Both of these albums sold many more copies in late 2012. See below.)
As a member of *NSYNC, Timberlake had the best-selling album of the first half of 2000, No Strings Attached (though with a much fatter total: 6,593,000). That album went on to be the top-seller of the entire year. Will 20/20 duplicate that feat? Stay tuned.