Taylor Swift's 'Red' Album Rules at No. 1, Bruno Mars Debuts at No. 2
Taylor Swift continues to rule the roost on the Billboard 200 albums chart as Red stays steady at No. 1 with 208,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan (up 25%). It's the Big Machine album's fifth non-consecutive week at No. 1.
The title beats the arriving Unorthodox Jukebox by Bruno Mars, which settles for a bow at No. 2 with 192,000. It's easily the best sales week yet for the singer/songwriter/producer, who previously earned his best frame when Doo-Wops & Hooligans moved 84,000 over Christmas of 2010. The set, which was his debut full-length effort, topped out at No. 3 on the tally.
The new album's lead single, "Locked Out of Heaven," became Mars' fourth No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 last week.
Unorthodox Jukebox bows with a bigger number than expected. Label sources had forecasted last week (Dec. 12) that the set would sell in the range of 140,000 to 150,000. Those same sources indicate that its fortunes seriously improved over the busy shopping weekend thanks to heavy foot traffic in stores. 70% of the album's first-week sales were physical albums according to SoundScan.
Back on the Billboard 200, Michael Buble's evergreen Christmas album steps 5-3 with 138,000 (up 30%) while One Direction's second album Take Me Home is steady at No. 4 with 127,000 (up 19%). The latter set shifts past the 1 million sales mark this week (1.04 million), making One Direction the only act to sell a million copies of two different albums this year. Earlier this year, the group's debut effort Up All Night -- which was also released in 2012 -- sailed past the million mark. Its total sales stand at 1.5 million.
Elsewhere in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 this week, Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby slips 3-5 with 108,000 (down 15%) while Game's new Jesus Piece opens at No. 6 with 86,000. It's the fifth top 10 effort for the hip-hop star, who saw his last album, 2011's The R.E.D. Album, bow at No. 1 with 98,000.
Phillip Phillips' The World From the Side of the Moon climbs 9-7 (68,000; up 4%), Blake Shelton's Cheers, It's Christmas holds at No. 8 (just under 68,000; down less than 1%) and Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire falls 7-9 (61,000; down 20%). Closing out the top 10 is Lady Antebellum's On This Winter's Night, which rises 11-10 with 60,000 (down 3%).
Just outside the top 10 are a couple new entries, where Green Day's Tre (No. 13; 58,000) and the Nashville TV soundtrack (No. 14; 56,000) arrive.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" holds at No. 1 for a second week, selling 222,000 (up 13%). Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" rallies 5-2 with 167,000 (up 29%), the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" rises 4-3 with 131,000 (down less than 1%) and Rihanna's "Diamonds" dips 2-4 with 121,000 (down 15%).
will.i.am's "Scream & Shout" (featuring Britney Spears) falls 3-5 with 120,000 (down 15%) while The Voice contestant Cassadee Pope debuts at No. 6 with "Stupid Boy" (117,000). It's the second top 10 hit on the Digital Songs chart for Pope, who launched at No. 3 three weeks ago with "Over You" (152,000).
Back in the top 10 this week, Justin Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat" (featuring Nicki Minaj) is up 8-7 (108,000; but up 1%) and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" zooms 13-8 (102,000; up 23%). The latter's rise comes at the same time it enters the Pop Songs airplay chart at No. 36 (known as Mainstream Top 40 on Billboard.biz).
PSY's "Gangnam Style" descends 6-9 on Digital Songs with 101,000 (down 18%), marking its 14th straight week of 100,000-plus sales. Rounding out the top 10 is Ke$ha's "Die Young," holding at No. 10 with 94,000 (down 2%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Dec. 16) totaled 9.71 million units, up 15% compared with the sum last week (8.45 million) and down 13% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (11.20 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 293.47 million, down 5% compared with the same total at this point last year (307.75 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 22.79 million downloads, down 2% compared with last week (23.28 million) and up 1% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (22.48 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 1.255 billion, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (1.186 billion).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Michael Buble's Christmas was tops for a fifth week, selling 467,000 (up 4%). The top debut was Young Jeezy's T M 103: Hustlerz Ambition, which started at No. 3 with 233,000.
Editor's Note: For the next two weeks, due to the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the top 10 albums/digital songs recap story that normally posts on Wednesday morning will arrive on Thursday instead. Additionally, the charts on both billboard.com and billboard.biz will refresh around 6 PM EST on Thursday on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, instead of in the morning as usual.