Wednesday, May 13, 2009

#1 just aint the same any more-record sales are slow

Chrisette Michele notches her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as her sophomore set "Epiphany" (Def Jam) debuts atop the list with 83,000. She edges out the seventh week of the "Hannah Montana: the Movie" soundtrack (No. 2 with 82,000) and the arrival of Ciara's third album "Fantasy Ride" (LaFace) at No. 3 with just under 81,000.

But, despite locking down the top spot, Michele's opening of 83,000 is the lowest sum for a No. 1-debuting album in Nielsen SoundScan's 18-year history. Previously, the low-water mark was held by Johnny Cash's "American V: A Hundred Highways" (American) in the summer of 2006, when it started with 88,000. Only one other album has debuted at No. 1 with less than 100,000: the Notorious B.I.G.'s "#1's" (Bad Boy) in November of 2005 with 99,000.

This was Michele's best sales week. Her previous best came when her "I Am" debut started with 27,000 in July of 2007. The set debuted and peaked at No. 29.

Ciara's "Fantasy Ride" is her third top three debut in as many tries. Her freshman 2004 album "Goodies" entered the list at No. 3 with 125,000 while 2006's "The Evolution" blasted onto the tally at No. 1 with 338,000. Despite the fair amount of heat generated by "Fantasy Ride's" first single -- "Love Sex Magic" (featuring Justin Timberlake) -- the album clocks Ciara's lowest first-week sum yet.