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Taylor Swift heads back to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week as her Red set steps 2-1 with 167,000 (up 22%), according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last week’s leader, Alicia Keys‘ Girl On Fire, falls to No. 7 with 77,000 (down 52%).
This is the fourth nonconsecutive week that Red is No. 1. Its first three frames — all in a row — came upon its debut on the Nov. 10 chart. Combined, Swift’s three No. 1 albums have spent 21 weeks at the top. Swift is now tied with Whitney Houston and Jay-Z for the fourth-most weeks at No. 1 since SoundScan began powering the chart in May 1991. Garth Brooks leads with 51 weeks at No. 1 in that span of time, followed by Eminem (29) and Adele (24 – all from her 21 album).
The new chart’s highest debut comes in at No. 2, where Wiz Khalifa‘s second studio album, O.N.I.F.C., starts with 141,000. His first release, 2011’s Rolling Papers, also stepped in at No. 2, but with a bigger number: 197,000.
Rod Stewart‘s Merry Christmas, Baby, holds at No. 3 with 127,000 (up 9%) while One Direction’s Take Me Home is also steady at No. 4 with 107,000 (up 16%). Michael Buble‘s Christmas jumps 7-5 with the chart’s largest unit gain (40,000), selling 106,000 for the week (up 61%).
At No. 6 is the second-biggest debut of the week, Ke$ha‘s Warrior, starting with 85,000. It follows her debut studio set, Animal, second release Cannibal, and remix album I Am the Dance Commander + I Command You to Dance. Animal — her first and only No. 1 — bowed atop the Billboard 200 in the dead of January 2010, selling 152,000 in its first week. The set dropped Jan. 5 of that year and, unlike Warrior, had a clear path to No. 1.
The street date for Animal took advantage of a wide-open release schedule and an always slow sales month. The week Animal debuted at No. 1, the next-highest new entry was way down at No. 27, where Katharine McPhee‘s Unbroken debuted with 15,000. They were two of only seven debuts on the entire Billboard 200.
Granted, the 152,000 Animal sold wasn’t a jaw-dropping figure, but it was enough to bump Susan Boyle‘s I Dreamed a Dream from the penthouse after a six-week run. Boyle’s album fell to No. 2 that week with 93,000 — down from 137,000 the week previous.
Back on this week’s chart, though, we find Blake Shelton‘s Cheers, It’s Christmas rising 9-8 with 68,000 (up 29%) and Phillip Phillips‘ The World From the Side of the Moon falling 5-9 with 65,000 (down 12%). Rounding out the top 10 is country duo Florida Georgia Line with its debut studio set, Here’s to the Good Times. The album starts with 63,000 the same week its single “Cruise” spends its second week atop the Country Airplay chart.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Bruno Mars‘ “Locked Out of Heaven” reaches No. 1 for the first time, climbing 5-1 with 197,000 (up 46%). It’s the fifth No. 1 on the Digital Songs chart for the singer/songwriter/producer. Its cumulative sales now stand at 1.3 million.
Last week’s No. 1, Will.i.am‘s “Scream & Shout” (featuring Britney Spears), slips to No. 3 with 142,000 (down 28%). Jumping 8-2 is Rihanna‘s “Diamonds” with 143,000 (up 17%).
Current Billboard magazine cover stars the Lumineers rise 6-4 with “Ho Hey” (132,000; up 3%) while Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” sizzles with an 11-5 rise (129,000; up 59%). PSY‘s “Gangnam Style” dips 2-6 (123,000; down 14%), Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” descends 3-7 (110,000; down 22%), and Justin Bieber‘s “Beauty and a Beat” rallies 13-8 (107,000; up 40%).
Phillip Phillips’ “Home” is stationary at No. 9 (105,000; down 11%), and Ke$ha’s “Die Young” finishes out the top 10, sliding 7-10 (96,000; down 12%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Dec. 9) totaled 8.6 million units, up 12% compared with the sum last week (7.5 million) and down 14% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (9.8 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 283.8 million, down 4% compared with the same total at this point last year (296.5 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 23.3 million downloads, up 5% compared with last week (22.2 million) and up 7% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (21.7 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 1.23 billion, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (1.16 billion).
Next week’s Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Michael Buble’s Christmas led the chart for a fourth week (447,000; down 7%) while the highest debut was found at No. 12, where Anthony Hamilton‘s Back to Love started with 63,000
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