Get ready for a new Taylor Swift assault. As the countdown continues to the Oct. 25 release of her third album, “Speak Now,” the excitement builds. How big a deal is this? We’ll tell you. On release day, Swift will host a private performance for contest winners around the world at the United Nations. Yes, the New York City-based body that usually concerns itself with wars and world affairs.
1) Taylor Swift (last week, not ranked): As “Speak Now,” powers its way onto the Hot 100 to bow at No. 8 based almost 100% on digital sales, Taylor Swift sets the record for most debuts in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the chart’s history. Forever hold your piece.
2) Apple (No. 9): Steve Jobs’ company can do no wrong as industry insiders talk up its possible subscription service over those potentially offered by Google or Spotify and the stock reaches an all-time high this week of $299.50.
3) Toby Keith (not ranked): Country gunslinger who couldn’t go pop even with firecrackers in his mouth, as the saying goes, tops the Billboard 200 for the fourth time with “Bullets in the Gun.” On the dubious honor side: His 71,000 tally is the lowest ever sum for a title debuting at No. 1. The real winner: Country music which lands the top album for three weeks in a row.
4) eMusic (not ranked): The online music store inks a sweet deal to license 250,000 tracks from the Universal Music Group catalog. Is that what you call eHarmony?
5) Eminem and Lady Antebellum (not ranked): The two have the pair of top selling albums in the country this year, so it makes sense that they both are the big winners in the American Music Award nominations with five nods each.
6) Lil Wayne (not ranked): He gets more done in jail in a week than most artists do in a year. Now he’s bundling “I Am Not Free,” which will likely come in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week, with “DefJam Rapstar” this week. It’s amazing what happens when you’re forced to focus.
7. VEVO (not ranked): The Universal/Sony-owned online video outlet continues to soar as it tops all music sites in September. Take that, MTV.
8. Prince (not ranked): The Purple One has always had impeccable taste in music (well, okay, let’s forgive him Mayte) and now he’s taking Janelle Monae, Mint Condition, Esperanza Spalding and Cassandra Wilson on the road in the “Welcome 2 America” tour, starting in December. Our only comment: Go. In a little red corvette, if possible.
9. Big Time Rush (not ranked): Unless you have little girls, you’ve probably never heard of BTR, the boy band from the Nickelodeon TV show of the same name. With zero mainstream visibility, BTR will come in at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 this week. The Jonas Bros. are dying a little bit inside.
10. T.I. (not ranked): Rapper helps talk a suicidal man off a 22-story ledge in Atlanta as he could face heading back to prison following a probation hearing on Friday. Seems like he took his own song, “Got Your Back,” literally.