<p>Adele and Katy Perry</p>

Adele and Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photos

Adele, Katy Perry lead 2011 music top-sellers: Where's Lady Gaga?

Who comes in first?

It’s the year of the ladies so far: The biggest selling album for the first half of 2011 belongs to Adele and the best selling digital song to Katy Perry.

Adele’s “21” has sold 2.5 million copies since its Feb. 22 release in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan via Billboard. The second best-selling album so far belongs to Lady Gaga. “Born This Way,” which has shifted 1.5 million copies since it came out May 23. They are the only two albums released in 2011 to surpass 1 million in sales.

Coming in at No. 3 is Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More,” which has sold 982,000 since Jan. 1 (for a cumulative tally of 1.6 million since its release 71 weeks ago.  No. 4 is Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” at 763,000 (1.4 million total in 34 weeks).

So how does this compare to the first half of 2010? It’s not much, but album sales for the first half are up 1%  over the first half of 2010 for a total of 155.46 million. More significantly, it marks the first time since 2004 that album sales have increased.

On the singles front, Perry’s “E.T.” featuring Kanye West has sold 4.12 million copies. It is one of two singles to hit the 4 million mark: Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which spent 7 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, has sold 4.089 million digital downloads.

Last year, no single had moved that many copies yet: the leader was Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” at 3.38 million. So far this year 52 songs have sold at least 1 million downloads compared to 39 at last year’s midway point.  Overall, digital track sales are up 11% over the first half of 2010.


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Listen: Blake Shelton's new song, 'God Gave Me You'

Listen: Blake Shelton's new song, 'God Gave Me You'

'The Voice' mentor serenades wife Miranda Lambert

With Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee” still buzzing at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, “The Voice” mentor has released, “God Gave Me You,”  the second single from his July 12 album, “Red River Blue.”

It would appear that Mr. Macho has quite a soft spot when it comes to his new bride, Miranda Lambert. The ballad, which is a remake of the song originally recorded by Christian artist Dave Barnes last year, appealed to Shelton when he and Lambert were going through a rough patch.

“Miranda and I have had our ups and downs over the years and this was definitely at a low point at our relationship.” he reveals in a behind-the-scenes look at the recording, which we've embedded below.  “But I heard that song come on the radio -- for whatever reason I was flipping through stations and landed on a contemporary Christian station, and that song came on and I almost had to pull the truck over. It was one of those moments for me where I felt like I was hearing that song at that moment for a reason.”

His devotion is clear, although he’s certainly putting her on a pedestal.  You’ll always be love’s great martyr and I’ll be the flattered fool. I need you,” he sings.

What do you think about Shelton’s softer side? Hear the song, exclusively streaming on The Boot,  here.


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<p>Noel Gallagher at his press conference</p>

Noel Gallagher at his press conference

Oasis's Noel Gallagher sets release date for solo debut

Will it fare better than his brother's Beady Eye set?

Let the Gallagher Bros. rivalry continue:  Oasis’s Noel Gallagher will release “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds” Nov. 8 on Sour Mash/Mercury Records.

Gallagher’s solo debut follows the March release of  “Different Gear, Still Speeding,” the first album from Beady Eye, a band composed of his brother Liam and three other members from Oasis.  The set failed to resonate with U.S. listeners despite working a number of tracks to radio and peaking at No. 31 on the Billboard 200.

“Different Gear” met with greater success in the U.K, where the Steve Lillywhite-produced  set reached No. 3. The band, who played four sold-out club shows in the U.S. last month,  also received a best new band nomination for the NME Awards.

Gallagher, who announced the new album at a press conference in London today, revealed he recorded the album in London and Los Angeles with co-producer Dave Sardy. Gallagher has already completed a companion set, which re corded with duo Amorphous Androgynous, will come out next year.

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Eminem's 'Recovery' becomes first album to sell a million downloads

Who will be the next artist to surpass the million mark?

Eminem217;s “Recovery” has set a milestone: the Grammy-nominated project is the first album to sell 1 million downloads in the U.S. 

To be exact, the title has sold 1,001,000 cumulative albums digitally (that means at least 10 songs downloaded from the set) and 3.9 million total in the U.S. 

While the physical CD is clearly headed out, given that almost 75% of “Recovery’s” sales have been via physical CD, its demise isn’t here yet.

Hot on “Recovery’s” heels is Adele’s “21,” which is on target to pass the 1 million mark next week, according to Nielsen SoundScan via Billboard. That means its digital vs. physical rate is much closer, which physical sales accounting for slightly more than 50% of the set’s tally.

Since 2005, the year that Nielsen SoundScan began logging digital album sales, a cool dozen titles have sold at least 500,000 downloads.

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<p>Pia Toscano</p>
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Pia Toscano

Credit: FOX

Confirmed: 'American Idol's' Pia Toscano signs with Interscope

When will she release her first single?

American Idol” season 10 contestant Pia Toscano has signed with Interscope Records,  Hitfix has confirmed.

Her first single will come out July 12, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news. Toscano is the third contestant to sign a deal: Winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina both inked deals with Mercury Nashville. Interscope and Mercury  parent Universal Music Group has first option on signing the “AI” contestants, following “AI’s” switch from Sony Music to UMG.

In April, rumors of Toscano pacting with Interscope were rampant after it appeared that the label had approached songwriters and producers about prepping material for her. Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine is a mentor on "American Idol"

Toscano will  be co-managed by 19/Red Light Management, which has first rights to manage the finalists, with the exception of the winner and runner up. They are both managed by “AI” founder Simon Fuller’s company XIX. If we haven’t lost you yet, remember that Fuller parted ways with 19 last year, but cleverly, and confusingly for all of us, titled his new company XIX. 19/Red Light has also signed management deals with Season 10 finalists Haley Reinhart and James Durbin.

Toscano’s first single, “This Time,” is an “acoustic guitar and beat-driven track,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, written by Ester Dean, who has written hits for Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.  She will perform the tune on the “American Idol” tour, which starts July 6 in Salt Lake City.

Her debut album will come out later this year. Rodney Jerkins is one of the producers working on the set.

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Shocking! Vanity Fair readers are not true Beliebers

Shocking! Vanity Fair readers are not true Beliebers

Whose magazine cover sold worse than Justin Bieber's?

It looks like not everyone has Bieber Fever. Vanity Fair’s February Justin Bieber cover, which featured him covered in lipstick kisses, is shaping up to be the worst-selling issues in nearly 20 years for the magazine.

But Bieb’s in really good company. According to a story in WWD, the Bieber cover has sold around 246,000 newsstand copies based on unadjusted figures provided by the Audit Bureau of Circulation. The only other covers that have performed worse are Will Smith in July 1999 and Harrison Ford in July 1993. Vanity Fair is averaging  342,000 copies per issue this year.

While we’re piling on the Bieb, his October 2010 Teen Vogue cover and People’s April 2010 cover each sold anywhere from 12-25% below normal. The numbers for his recent Rolling Stone and US Weekly covers aren't available.

The thinking must have been that even though all three mags’ demo are older than the average Bieber fan (we’d say even Teen Vogue’s average reader is older than the typical Bieb fan) that parents would buy the magazines for their little darlings. Looks like it didn’t work, but we’d hardly take this as a sign of any cessation in Bieber’s popularity.

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<p>Hall &amp; Oates</p>

Hall & Oates

Concert Review: Hall & Oates at the Hollywood Bowl plus fireworks

Remind us why they aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet?

We're quite sure the Founding Fathers didn’t have The Hollywood Bowl in mind as the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day, given that the Bowl wouldn’t open for another 145 years or so, but we bet they would heartily approve.

This year, the beautiful outdoor venue--even if you’ve never been there, you’d recognize the gorgeous, famous bandshell from pictures-- combined with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Philadelphia’s finest, Hall & Oates; and fireworks added up to the perfect July 4. The only thing missing was the Liberty Bell.

Hall & Oates are the most successful duo in pop history, according to Billboard. Over the last few years, their music has undergone a bit of a resurgence through a younger generation discovering it via canny placement such as “You Make My Dreams Come True” in a pivotal fantasy scene in  2009’s “(500) Days of Summer.”

Plus, as they proved last night —the third in a three-night stand at the Bowl—the songs seem timeless—little pop nuggets that float perfectly on air through the decades. Other than “Las Vegas Turnaround,” a tune from 1973’s “Abandoned Luncheonette” featuring John Oates on lead, every song played July 4 was instantly recognizable from the first few notes.

In his heyday, Daryl Hall possessed a supple, soulful voice that seemed capable of musical miracles. Four decades later, it’s still a powerful instrument, especially in its mid-range, but has lost some of its potency on the high end such as on “Sara Smile” and the soaring close of “She’s Gone.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Beyonce Knowles performs live on &quot;Good Morning America&quot;&nbsp;on Friday, </p>

 Beyonce Knowles performs live on "Good Morning America" on Friday,

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

Billboard 200 chart preview: Does Beyonce or Adele rule the world?

Plus: Which two 'American Idol' winners may debut in the top 10?

Who rules the world?  Adele or Beyonce?  Well, next week, Beyonce’s “4” will be the runaway winner for the top spot as her fourth solo set is slated to sell around 300,000 copies. That’s three times what Adele’s “21,” which will likely land at No. 2, is expected to sell.

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<p>Britney Spears during the opening night of her &quot;Femme Fatale&quot;&nbsp;tour June 16 in Sacramento.</p>

Britney Spears during the opening night of her "Femme Fatale" tour June 16 in Sacramento.

Credit: AP Photo/Britney Spears Femme Fatale Tour, Roderick Trestrail II

Music Power Rankings: Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Britney make the list

Music Power Rankings goes pop for the fourth of July

1. Beyonce: “4” looks like it will be Bey’s fourth solo album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Who says you need a hit single?

2. Justin Timberlake: He is one of the investors who purchased MySpace in a fire sale from News Corp. Man, he’ll do anything to keep from putting out another album, won’t he?

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Credit: AP Photo

My favorite albums of 2011 so far: Adele, Foo Fighters and a few surprises

Who has taken up musical residence in our head and who hasn't (Lady Gaga)

With the first half of 2011 officially in our rear view mirror as of yesterday, here’s a look at the albums released in the previous six months that were my favorites. Are they the “best?” Who’s to say. All I'll say is they’re the ones I’ve found myself repeatedly drawn to this year.

Adele, “21”:  Really, what more is there to be said. Just give her the Grammy for album of the year already. Soaring vocals and searing lyrics even if the whole album was just “Rolling in the Deep” over and over again it would get our vote.

The Decemberists, “The King is Dead.” 
After laying it on thick with the excellent “Hazards of Love,” Colin Meloy and friends dialed it back. Less ambition is not always a bad thing, especially when it results in something so catchy as “Down by the Water.”

Foo Fighters, “Wasting Light”:
Fifteen years in, the Foos score their first No. 1 album and they’re just as fierce, focused and passionate as the day they began. Rock with heart and soul and just the right amount of thrashy abandon.

The Head and The Heart, “The Head and the Heart”:
Originally self-released, this Seattle band's debut was  picked up for wider distribution this April by Sub Pop. It’s lovely, lilting pop that just skirts preciousness. “You’re already home once you feel love.”

The Low Anthem, “Smart Flesh”: Atmospheric folk rock that haunts and hypnotizes through the quartet’s fearless use of whatever instrument is nearby. There are at least two dozen played on this set, including some you’re never heard of.

Pitbull, “Planet Pit”:
The party album of the year for the song “Pause” alone. Don’t bring your head,  just your feet. If you don’t want to dance to it, it’s the workout album of the year too.

Paul Simon, “So Beautiful or So What”:
One of America’s greatest songwriters roars back with his best album in ages. Who else (except perhaps Randy Newman) could go from the biting commentary of “The Afterlife” to the sheer vulnerability of “Love and Hard Times.”

Eddie Vedder, “Ukulele Songs”: Sometimes albums are meant to whisper, not scream and yet they have just as much impact. Vedder’s gruff voice nestled against the inherently sweet ukulele is all you need to bring down your blood pressure and breathe.

What are your favorites so far? 


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