Music Industry So Weak You Only Need To Sell 83,000 To Be No. 1


The top spot on this week’s Billboard album chart belongs to Chrisette Michele. Never heard of her? Neither have many other people because Michele has scored the lowest first-week sales total in Nielsen SoundScan’s 18-year history.

Her second album, Epiphany, only sold 83,000 copies in its initial week of sales. Only two other albums have debuted at No. 1 with less than 100,000 copies sold: the Notorious B.I.G.’s #1s (99,000 copies in November 2005) and the previous lowest first-week sales record holder Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways (88,000 July 2006).

Michele doesn’t hold the record for lowest single-week sales by a No. 1 album, plenty of other artists have ascended to the top of the chart, after floating around at lower positions, with less than 83,000 copies sold in one week, including Taylor Swift on one of her many appearances at No. 1 with her latest album Fearless.

It seemed as if album sales were improving slightly as they were only down 9% in April year over year, compared to 17.9% and 11.5% in February and March. But Michele’s first-week total is a disappointing start to May for the music industry. Will Green Day’s piracy-afflicted 21st Century Breakdown be able to help the industry rebound?

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