First! The Red dawn continues as Taylor Swift tops the Billboard 200 list for a seventh nonconsecutive week since its October 22 debut. Her fourth album did gangbusters (241,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan) in the days following the pre-Christmas shopping boom, losing only 12 percent in sales while the week overall saw a 23 percent dip. She had the highest selling LP released in 2012 with 3.11 million units moved in about three months’ time, and was bested only by Adele’s indomitable 2011 set 21 (4.41 million sold this past year), which will no doubt soon be issued to babies as they exit the womb, on account of everyone currently alive on this earth already owning it. No worries though, because Tay and Addie are currently tied for career No. 1 weeks notched (24 each) and there’s a good chance Red will continue its reign.
2 to 10: Swift benefitted from Amazon pricing her album at a piddling $1.99 on Christmas Eve, and so did another couple of winners: Imagine Dragons with Night Visions (No. 6, 70K) and Rihanna with Unapologetic (No. 7, 68K). The Les Miserable: Highlights soundtrack scored big in its second week (136K) following the film’s Christmas Day debut. Due to the music’s premature release, the set jumped all the way from No. 33 to No. 2, posting 218 percent gains. One Direction’s Take Me Home stubbornly persisted (No. 3, 120K) and quite sadly swapped spots with Bruno Mars’ very, very good Unorthodox Jukebox, now posted at No. 4 (110K). In at No. 5 is T.I. with Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head (74K). Umpteenth wave U.K. and U.S. folkies battle it out for Nos. 8 and 9: Mumford and Sons’ Babel (68K) versus Lumineers’ Lumineers (61K). And the Pitch Perfect soundtrack slips in at No. 10 (58K). Huh.
Gifted: For the final chart week of 2012, more digital songs were sold than in any other week since the MP3 was invented by Al Gore. (The Internet? He built that.) The grand total was a whopping 55.74 million, which the folks over at Billboard attribute in part to people redeeming gift cards received during the holiday. To wit, only 25.5 million tracks were purchased in the week leading up to Christmas.
“Locked” In: Bruno continues his four-week run at the top of the Hot 100 for “Locked Out of Heaven,” a song about not getting any. Apparently no sex sells.