From Ariana Grande to Robin Thicke: Music's Winners and Losers of 2014 (So Far)
Newcomers broke out, while top acts hit new lows in the first six months of the year.
This article first appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Frozen, the best-selling Disney soundtrack, might well describe the first six months of 2014 in music — ice cold. Album sales were down 15 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan, with top acts hitting new lows.
Here, THR breaks down music's winners and losers of 2014 (so far).
► Country: Eric Church's The Outsiders debuted at No. 1 and sold more than 650,000 albums, while Miranda Lambert's Platinum also bowed on top with 180,000.
► Rock: Big debuts for Bruce Springsteen's High Hopes (99,000 first week), Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence (180,000) and Coldplay's Ghost Stories (383,000, the year's biggest debut with 600,000 total).
► Newcomers: Iggy Azalea reached No. 1 and No. 2 with "Fancy" and Ariana Grande's "Problem" (featuring Azalea), respectively, a feat matched only by The Beatles. And Sam Smith had the top album bow for a solo act since American Idol's Phillip Phillips in 2012.
► Robin Thicke: Paula, his much-maligned attempt to woo back wife Paula Patton, registered a paltry 24,000 in first-week sales.
► Mariah Carey: Her long-delayed Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse debuted with 58,000, down from her 2009 album, which moved 168,000 its first week.
► Jennifer Lopez: A.K.A., her first for Capitol Records, sold 33,000 its first week, down from 83,000 for 2011's Love? Better keep that Idol job.