Taylor Swift, Susan Boyle Remain Music Industry's Top Winners in 2009
Two-Singer Horse Race
The Boyle-Swift horserace provided a bittersweet victory for the music industry, which stayed in the doldrums in 2009. New albums by one-time guaranteed hitmakers Mariah Carey and Shakira didn't break the 500,000 mark, and albums considered both commercial and critical successes -- Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown, Maxwell's BLACKsummersnight -- didn't break the million-sold mark. And highly anticipated products were delayed: albums by Lil Wayne, who had the top-selling album of 2008, and Usher leaked online before release dates for either could be nailed down.
But given that 2008 was the first year in memory in which no album broke the 3-million mark -- Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III sold 2.88 million -- Boyle's and Swift's sprint to the finish line reveals that there are still artists who motivate consumers to pay for their albums in stores' music sections or the iTunes Store.
The rest of this week's album chart is pretty sleepy. Only Dream breaks the six-figure mark. But a debut this week could end Boyle's reign next week: Newcomer Ke$ha, whose blippy single "Tik Tok" has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, released her debut album Animal yesterday.
Based on first-day sales data, Animal and Dream could wind up in a neck-and-neck battle for the top spot, one industry insider says. Animal is No. 1 on the iTunes Store's album chart, representing some digital sales, a fraction of overall sales. "Tik Tok" sold 610,000 digital copies in the last chart week and continued to sell strongly this week, moving 394,000 copies.
Either way, Sony comes out on top. Animal was released by RCA, another arm of Sony Music Entertainment.
The top 10 albums, with sales in parentheses:
1. Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream (137,000 copies)
2. Lady GaGa, The Fame (82,000)
3. Alicia Keys, The Element Of Freedom (80,000)
4. Mary J. Blige, Stronger (62,000)
5. Taylor Swift, Fearless (60,000)
6. Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel soundtrack (51,000)
7. Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. (47,000)
8. Lady GaGa, The Fame Monster (44,000)
9. Owl City, Ocean Eyes (44,000)
10. Glee: The Music, Volume 2 (44,000)