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Chart Watch: Sell 14K Albums, Make The Top 10

Paul Grein
Chart Watch
April 30, 2014

With album sales declining, this news flash was inevitable. Still, it's dispiriting: An album makes the top 10 on The Billboard 200 this week after selling a little less than 14K copies. That's a new low in the Nielsen SoundScan era for what it takes to make the top 10. The previous low was set in January 2012 when Nickelback's "Here And Now" ranked in the top 10 after selling a little less than 17K. The album in question this week is Bethel Music's "You Make Me Brave (Live)," which was recorded live at the Bethel Women's Conference. It features such Contemporary Christian stars as Kari Jobe.

Here's another bit of bad news: Six of this week's top 10 albums sold fewer than 20K copies. That's also a record. The old record, set that same week in January 2012, was five of the top 10 albums selling fewer than 20K copies.

From the time Nielsen SoundScan started tracking music sales in January 1991 through September 2007, no album made the top 10 with weekly sales of less than 30K. That changed the week ending Sept. 9, 2007, when two albums (Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black" and Linkin Park's "Minutes To Midnight") made it with sales of 29K and 28K, respectively. The first albums to make the top 10 with weekly sales of less than 20K came the week ending Jan. 15, 2012. (They were Coldplay's "Mylo Xyloto," Nickelback's "Here Are Now" and "Now 40.")

Here's some better news: "Frozen" is #1 for the 12th week. That's two more weeks at #1 than "The Lion King" soundtrack piled up in 1994-1995. These are the longest runs at #1 by soundtracks to animated movies in chart history. But "Frozen" still has a long way to go to match "The Lion King" in total U.S. sales. "Frozen" has sold 2,450,000 copies, which is less than one-third of the total of "The Lion King" (7,873,000).

How to explain this? Overall sales aren't what they were in 1994-1995. "The Lion King" sold 4,934,000 copies in 1994. It would take a miracle for "Frozen" to equal that achievement. As of this week, it has sold 2,113,000 albums in 2014.

Also, "The Lion King" has had a long time to add to its sales. The album had sold 6,860,000 copies by the end of 1995. It has sold a little more than a million copies since then, as a catalog album.

"Frozen" is currently the fifth best-selling soundtrack to an animated movie since 1991. It trails "The Lion King," "Tarzan" (2,586,000), "Aladdin" (2,481,000) and "Shrek" (2,475,000). "Frozen" will surpass "Aladdin" and "Shrek" next week, and will probably top "Tarzan" in two weeks, but it may never catch "The Lion King."

"Frozen" this week becomes the first album to sell 2 million copies in 2014. It sold an additional 338K copies in the last five weeks of 2013.

This is the 18th week in the top five for "Frozen." That's the longest run in the top five for a soundtrack from a theatrically-released movie since "Titanic" logged 18 weeks in the top five from January to May 1998.

"Frozen" sold 43K digital copies this week, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums for the ninth week. "Frozen" this week becomes the 10th album in digital history (and the first soundtrack) to sell 1 million digital copies.

"Frozen" is #1 on Top Soundtracks for the 22nd week. The movie was in the top 30 at the box-office for the 23rd weekend.

Future'ssecond album,"Honest," debuts at #2. It's his second top 10 album in a row. "Pluto" hit #8 in 2012. Future has a current Hot 100 hit with "Move That Doh" (featuring Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino).

Iggy Azalea's debut album, "The New Classic," debuts at #3. The Aussie female hip-hop artist, 23, has a current top 20 single with "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX). The song jumped from #37 to #18 on last week's Hot 100 and is expected to move up again this week. It jumps from #12 to #6 on Hot Digital Songs.

Incidentally, pop music's most famous "Iggy," Iggy Pop,has yet to land a top 10 album. The punk star's highest-charting album, "The Idiot," reached #72 in 1977.

Neon Trees's third album, "Pop Psychology," debuts at #6. It's the group's first top 10 album. The group has a current Hot 100 hit with "Sleeping With A Friend."

Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" dips from #6 to #7. The album is #1 on Top Country Albums for the 10th week. That's the longest run at #1 for an album by a male solo artist since Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" topped the chart for 12 weeks in 2011.

"Nashville On The Record (Live)" debuts at #8. It's the first top 10 album by the cast of ABC's "Nashville," following a pair of albums that reached the top 20. (The title enters Top Country Albums at #2.)

Pharrell Williams's "Happy" is #1 on Hot Digital Songs for the 11th week, with sales of 208K. It's the first song to spend 11 weeks at #1 on this chart since "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain logged 13 weeks on top in 2007-2008. Will "Happy" log its 10th week at #1 on the Hot 100? You'll find out later today when we post my first of two Chart Watch Songs blogs.

Here's a recap of this week's top 10 albums.

The Top Five:The "Frozen" soundtrack holds at #1 for the 12th week in in its 22nd week (115K). This is its 20th week in the top 10 … Future's"Honest" debuts at #2 (53K). It's his second top 10 album … Iggy Azalea's "The New Classic" debuts at #3 (52K). This is her first top 10 album … Pharrell Williams's"G I R L" rebounds from #7 to #4 in its eighth week (21K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time … August Alsina's "Testimony" drops from #2 to #5 in its second week (20K).

The Second Five: Neon Trees's "Pop Psychology" debuts at #6 (19K). It's the group's first top 10 album … Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" dips from #6 to #7 in its 37th week (19K). This is its 16th week in the top 10 …"Nashville On The Record (Live)" debuts at #8 (18K). It's the first top 10 album by the cast of ABC's "Nashville" …Lorde's "Pure Heroine" dips from #8 to #9 in its 30th week (16K). This is its 22nd week in the top 10 … Bethel Music's "You Make Me Brave (Live)" debuts at #10 (14K).

Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. NEEDTOBREATHE's"Rivers In The Wasteland" drops from #3 to #24. Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" drops from #4 to #17. Ingrid Michaelson's "Lights Out" drops from #5 to #20. … 5 Seconds Of Summer's"She Looks So Perfect" drops from #9 to #12. "Now 49" drops from #10 to #23.

Francesca Battistelli's fourth studio album, "If We're Honest," debuts at #13. It's her highest-charting album to date, surpassing "Hundred More Years," which reached #16 in 2011 … Johnny Cash's 2005 compilation, "The Legend Of Johnny Cash," rebounds from #58 to #38 in its 163rd chart week. The album returns to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Nas's "Illmatic." This is its second week on top.

Metallica's "Through The Never" is #1 on Top Music Videos for the ninth week. That's the longest run on top for a video by a rock band since Rush's "Beyond The Lighted Stage" had 10 weeks on top in 2010-2011.

"The Other Woman" was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. It's Nicki Minaj's first live-action movie. Minaj previously did voice work in the animated "Ice Age: Continental Drift." That movie was also #1 at the box-office (in July 2012), which means Minaj has had as many #1 movies as she has albums.

Coming Attractions:  Look for Lindsey Stirling's "Shatter Me" to debut at #2 next week, with first week sales in the 50K range. Ray LaMontagne's "Supernova" will probably debut around #3 (40K), followed by the Contemporary Christian compilation "Passion: Take It All (Live)" around #4 (30K).  Timeflies's "After Hours" should start around #6 (21K).