The Week in Music Sales: Eric Church Lands First No. 1 Album
As projected last week, country singer Eric Church takes his third album, Chief, straight in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 145,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan (with an even bigger sales figure that expected). The debut marks the artist's first topper on not just this chart but also on the Top Country Albums tally.
Church's last set, 2009's Carolina, debuted and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard 200 with 31,000 sold in its first week. It has moved 496,000 total in the U.S.
Those who may draw a blank when hearing the words "Eric Church" shouldn't necessarily be faulted. He's yet to notch a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and has only gone as high as No. 10 on the radio airplay-powered Hot Country Songs chart. While he isn't a superstar act on country radio yet, he's been steadily building a fan base thanks to touring since his Sinners Like Me album arrived in 2006.
Church is the second country act to earn their first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 in less than a month. Blake Shelton grabbed his first two weeks ago with Red River Blue after a decade of earlier charting efforts.
Elsewhere on the Billboard 200 this week, Kelly Rowland's third album, Here I Am, arrives at No. 3 with 77,000. It's her highest charting album yet, surpassing the No. 6 peak of her last release, 2007's Ms. Kelly, which bowed with 83,000. Rowland's "Here" was led by the single "Motivation," which spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Last week's No. 1 album, Adele's 21, falls to No. 2 with 83,000 (up 7%).
Amy Winehouse's Back to Black unsurprisingly surges up the chart, moving up 9-4 (54,000; up 44%) after a full week's worth of sales impact following her death on Saturday, July 23. Last week's chart only reflected two days of sales after news broke of her passing. (SoundScan's tracking week ends at the close of business on Sunday.) Her earlier album, Frank, also rallies, climbing 57-33 with 12,000 (up 58%). On the Digital Songs chart, "Rehab" rises 46-20 (66,000; up 75%) while she also re-enters with "You Know I'm No Good" (No. 52 with 32,000 -- up 76%) and "Back to Black" (No. 55 with 31,000; up 81%).
One more debut dots the top 10 of the albums chart this week as Joss Stone's LP1 starts at No. 9 with 30,000. It's the singer's third top 10 album and it follows Colour Me Free!, which debuted and peaked at No. 10 in 2009 with a 27,000 bow.
Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party rises 8-5 (42,000; down 4%), Beyonce's 4 falls 4-6 (41,000; down 23%), "Kidz Bop 20" slides 2-7 (39,000; down 44%) and Shelton's Red River Blue drifts 6-8 (31,000; down 34%). Closing out the top 10 is Bad Meets Evil's Hell: the Sequel, which is up one slot to No. 10 (26,000; down 9%).
Over on the Digital Songs chart, LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" is firm at No. 1 (202,000; down 4%) while Bad Meets Evil's "Lighters" (featuring Bruno Mars) rises 5-2 (165,000; up 15%).
The biggest jump to the top 10 is Jay-Z & Kanye West's "Otis" (featuring Otis Redding) which zips 40-9 (113,000; up 159%).
Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" falls 2-3 (151,000; down 8%), Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" falls 3-4 (145,000; down 6%) and Hot Chelle Rae's "Tonight Tonight" slips 4-5 (134,000; down 10%). Lil Wayne's "How to Love" is steady at No. 6 (131,000; down 6%), Britney Spears' "I Wanna Go" skips 9-7 (116,000; down less than 1%) and Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" is down 7-8 (114,000; down 10%). Rounding out the top 10 is Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," falling two slots to No. 10 (106,000; down 12%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending July 31) totaled 5.79 million units, up 3% compared to the sum last week (5.62 million) and up 11% compared to the comparable sales week of 2010 (5.21 million). Year to date album sales stand at 177.83 million, up 2% compared to the same total at this point last year (174.92 million). It is the tenth week in a row where year-to-date album volume is greater than the same time in the prior year.
Digital track sales this past week totaled 23.37 million downloads, down 3% compared to last week (24.06 million) and up 13% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (20.70 million). Year to date track sales are at 754.40 million, up 11% compared to the same total at this point last year (681.26 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2010 when: Arcade Fire's future Grammy winner for album of the year, The Suburbs, moved in at No. 1 in its first week, selling 156,000 copies. The previous week's leader, Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare, fell to No. 3 with 45,000 (down 72%).