In between the two rappers are a pair of strange bedfellows: the soundtrack to "Hannah Montana: the Movie" drops from No. 1 to 2 and debuting at No. 3 is veteran British group Depeche Mode, who stopped traffic in Hollywood last week with their street concert and appearance on "The Jimmy Kimmel Show." (Now we're going to have an image of Miley Cyrus singing "Personal Jesus" in our heads all day....). Depeche Mode's "Sounds of the Universe" comes in at No. 3. This is where the tale of the tape is in the details. That is the group's highest debut since 1993. Sounds impressive, right? And it is... however, according to Billboard, the opening sales tally of 80,000 is actually the band's lowest since the birth of Nielsen SoundScan (or just plain old SoundScan, as it was known back then) in 1991.
Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable" drops to No. 4. The "Twilight" soundtrack continues to get new life from the release of the move on DVD and almost hourly updates on the forthcoming sequel. It stays in the top 10 at No. 6, while Lady GaGa's "The Fame" slides up one notch to No. 7.
We have no idea if Lady GaGa is a two-hit wonder or the next Madonna, but you have to give her label (Streamline/KonLive/Cherrytree/Interscope) credit that in a digital download singles world, especially for songs as Top 40-driven as "Just Dance" and "Pokerface," that they are keeping CD sales alive as the album celebrates its 26th week on the Billboard 200.
"The Fame" just surpassed 700,000 in sales. However, the sad fact is -- given there is probably not a minute in the day when one of those songs is not getting radio play--only a few years ago, that kind of saturation would have had the album at double platinum already.
Of course, CD sales no longer tell the whole story since there are so many other sales points, such as digital downloads, ringtones, etc., but it's interesting to note that the only other album in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 with similar longevity is the "Twilight" soundtrack, which has sold more than 1.8 million over 25 weeks. That CD is not radio driven (although Paramore's song was worked at radio), which shows you don't have to have radio play to sell massive amounts of CDs, but you better have something else driving it---like a Vamp or two...
Just for another point of comparison, Taylor Swift's "Fearless," which is hovering outside of the Top 10 and will, no doubt, move back into that sphere at some point, has sold more than 3 million over 24 weeks. There are a few things to be gleaned from that. First off, country audiences skew older than Top 40 artists (even though Swift is leading a youth movement). By and large, country audiences don't illegally download and while they digitally download singles, they still love to support artists by buying the entire CD.