Credit: Jeff Christensen/AP

Six lessons to learn from Adele's smashing first-week sales for '21'

Plus, check out Mike Posner's cover of 'Rolling In The Deep'

Adele’s sophomore set, “21,” bowed on the Billboard 200 today with sales of 352,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s the highest opening week tally in 2011. It also marks the biggest debut for a new album since Kanye West started with 496,000 with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” the week ending Nov. 28. That same week, Nicki Minaj launched “Pink Friday” with sales of 375,000. As well as she's doing here, she's blowing up even bigger in her native U.K.: She is the first artist since the Beatles to have entries in both the top 5 of the album and singles charts. Here’s how she did it and what other artists can learn.

1) Set up, set up, set up.
Columbia, Adele’s U.S. label, began greasing the wheels in September by discreetly playing one or two tracks for people to start to get a whisper campaign going. Then in October, a full four months before the release date, Adele played small showcases in New York and Los Angeles for tastemakers to continue to build the buzz. Here’s our report from her Los Angeles show. There has been a slow, but steady simmering on the project ever since then that came to a boil as the release date approached.

2)  The focus has been squarely on the music. While paparazzi have hassled Adele in her native London, here she’s simply not the stuff of tabloid fodder. Maybe it’s because she’s not posing in next to nothing or falling drunk out of a bar or dating a semi-celeb, but when we talk about Adele, we talk about the music...and her talent. And isn’t that a nice change of pace? What a concept.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Britney Spears </p>

Britney Spears

Listen: Sneak peek at Britney Spears' 'Seal It With A Kiss'

Another track from 'Femme Fatale' surfaces

Another day, another snippet from a new Britney Spears song. Late last night, Spears’ producer Dr. Luke released a snippet of “Seal It With a Kiss,” from her forthcoming album, “Femme Fatale,” out March 29.

The 25-second snippet is, like everything else we’ve heard so far from “Fatale,” is heavily dance oriented, although “Seal It With A Kiss” had more pop elements than some of the other leaks, such as the short portion of “The Big Fat Bass” that will.i.am sneak peeked on dipdive.com on Monday. Of course, how much can we really tell from these teeny bits.

Snippets of several of the songs are leaking almost daily, as we've reported here, including 

"I Wanna Go," "Inside Out," We also got the hi-tech video for "Hold It Against Me."



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<p>Dave Stewart</p>

Dave Stewart

Interview: Dave Stewart talks Stevie Nicks' new album 'In Your Dreams'

Learn about her obsession with poets

Stevie Nicks will release, “In Your Dreams,”  her first solo album in 10 years on May 3. Nicks recorded “In Your Dreams” in her Los Angeles home with co-producers Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.

Stewart, best known as half of Eurythmics, says recording with Nicks was an absolute joy. “We co-wrote right or nine songs together,” he tells Hitfix, seven of which ultimately ended up on the album. “After the second or third song, she said I’ve never sat together and written with someone in my life. It’s an amazing album.”

Nicks, who inspired a generation of singers, is the last artist who will be chasing trends, Stewart says. “It’s not like trying to answer or compete with any pop market.”

Stewart says he learned much about Nicks and her craft.  “I learned how incredibly focused she is and how unbelievably committed she is to her art form and includes the words, research, her obsession with poets like Edgar Allan Poe and all the details.”

Nicks is prepping for a North American tour with co-headliner Rod Stewart. The Heart & Soul Tour kicks off March 20 at the Bank Atlantic Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.


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<p>Britney has something she wants to tell you...</p>

Britney has something she wants to tell you...

Credit: Jive Records

Britney Spears releases track listing for 'Femme Fatale'

See what's on the entire16-track deluxe edition

It’s March 1, which means we’re officially into the month that Britney Spears‘ “Femme Fatale” drops on March 29. Today, courtesy of Idolator, we get the track listing for not only regular edition, but the 16-track deluxe edition.

Snippets of several of the songs are leaking almost daily, as we've reported here, including 

"I Wanna Go," "Inside Out," We also got the hi-tech video for "Hold It Against Me." 

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<p>Zac Brown Band</p>

Zac Brown Band

Credit: Mark Humphrey/AP

Hitfix Interview: Zac Brown Band talks new Patagonia Music Collective also featuring Pearl Jam, Maroon5 and more

Buy exclusive tracks and help the environment

Today (March 1), Patagonia, the environmentally-friendly, outdoor clothing company, launches  the Patagonia Music Collective, a new online music store with exclusive tracks from such artists as Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, Maroon 5, Bonnie Raittand Jon Cleary, Drive By Truckers, Brandi Carlile, Ben Sollee, The Bad Plus and Zac Brown Band. The tracks sell for 99 cents, with the net proceeds going to a non-profit environmental group of the acts choosing.

We talked to Zac Brown Band about their choice to get involved in the project and their chosen organization, Urban Farming, The group donated a live version of their song, “Cold Hearted,” the studio version of which is on its current album, “You Get What You Give.”  Many acts traveled the same path, offering live or acoustic versions of already available songs, while others selected previously unreleased tunes.

[More after the jump...]

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Sick Puppies, Staind's Aaron Lewis and Beady Eye lead March 1 releases

Lykke Li and Lucinda Williams also deliver new goods

Following the excitement surround the arrival of the Adele album last week, things slow down slightly this week, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of March 1 delights to savor, including the solo debut from Floetry’s Marsha Ambrosius; Beady Eye, fronted by Oasis’s Liam Gallagher, and veteran singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams.

Marsha Ambrosius, “Late Nights & Early Mornings” (J): One-half of neo-soul duo Floetry releases her first solo album, but she doesn’t got it totally alone: collaborators include Alicia Keys and Just Blaze. Admit it, you want to hear “Hope She Cheats on You (With A Basketball Player”).

Beady Eye, “Different Gear, Still Speeding” (Dangerbird):
Think Oasis without Noel Gallagher and produced by Steve Lillywhite.

Dropkick Murphys, “Going Out in Style” (Born & Bred Records): Just in time for St. Patty’s Day, the Dropkick Murphy’s drop their  seventh album, full of their usual blend of spunky, Irish-flavored rock and roll. Plus, they welcome a very special guest: Bruce Springsteen on a remake of the classic “Peg O’ My Heart.” Apparently, all you have to do is ask.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Willow Smith</p>

Willow Smith

Listen: Willow Smith's new single, '21st Century Girl'

Does she sound more like Rihanna or Ke$ha?

Willow Smith wants us to know that she’s  “on a mission with no restrictions.”  At 10 years old, she’s already on her second single, following “Whip My Hair.”

The good news is as repetitive and mindless as “21st Century Girl” may be, it is light years ahead of “Whip My Hair.”

When she’s not imitating Rihanna, she’s channeling Ke$ha with the quick refrain about “rocking the beat.”  Smith’s no Jackie Evancho, but she seems to be able to stay on key. I’m tired of beating my drum about letting a kid be a kid because I don’t have a vote on what goes on in the Will Smith/Jada Pinkett household and it’s clear the fame train has already left the station on both Willow and her older bro, Jaden. Let’s just hope some of the royalties are going into a fund for future therapy sessions, if needed.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lady Gaga in &quot;Born This Way&quot;</p>

Lady Gaga in "Born This Way"

Watch: Lady Gaga's video for 'Born This Way' and her homage to Madonna

See how all the Little Monsters got created

That’s an image that’s going to linger: Lady Gaga pulling a machine gun from her crotch. It’s all part of the video (the first one) for “Born This Way,” which the artist debuted today. Since we know it will take a couple of decades for us to decipher all of this one, we decided to give you bullet points on our immediate thoughts and keep it simple since your mind is going to be cluttered with the primordial ooze.

*Why didn’t Lady Gaga cut the opening and closing shots of a unicorn? We would have edited those out given Ke$ha’s better use of the mythical creature in her “Blow” video and the shots have nothing to do with the real theme. She co-directed the video. She could have done anything she wanted with that final edit.

*Mother Monster really is the queen of the world. Here, she rules the Multiverse, giving birth to good, but she’s not the only one with gooey things coming out of her lady bits, so is everyone else on the planet. Yuck.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Emily Browning of 'Sucker Punch'</p>

Emily Browning of 'Sucker Punch'

Bjork, Queen, Beatles tunes get reinvented on 'Sucker Punch' soundtrack

Emily Browning and Carla Gugino act and sing in the action fantasy

Classic rock tunes such as Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, the Pixies’ “Where is my Mind” and Roxy Music’s “Love is the Drug” get turned on their ear on the soundtrack for “Sucker Punch.”

The Zack Snyder-directed film is about a young girl, Baby Doll, played by Emily Browning, who is thrown into a mental asylum by her evil stepmother. Her fellow inmates, played by Abbie Cornish, Jenna Malone and Vanessa Hudgens, take on enemies, real and imagined, in an effort to break free.

[More after the jump...]

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Credit: Peter Kramer/AP

Will Adele or Justin Bieber top next week's Billboard 200?

Who continues to see a Grammy surge?

Look for Adele’s  second album, “21,” not only to open at No. 1 next week on the Billboard 200, but it will sell up to 300,000, the biggest tally so far in 2011.  Not only will it be on top, it is the only debut in the top 15.

Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never- The Remixes,” this week’s chart champ, still stays strong with sales of up to 120,000, according to Hits Daily Double. His “My World 2.0” will give him two titles in the top 5, as it looks strong for No. 5 with sales of 50,000 unites.

The rest of the top 10 includes “Now 37,” which keeps moving units at No. 3, although Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” may snag the No. 3 spot, continuing its post-Grammy surge. Both titles are hovering around 65,000.

Current sets from Bruno Mars and Rihanna will lodge at No. 6 and 7, while Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday,”  Eminem’s “Recovery” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” will round out the top 10.

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