Jay-Z and Kanye West are kings of the castle of this week as their larger-than-life collaboration, Watch The Throne, put up nearly gold numbers in its first week on the charts. The collaborative success couldn’t be met by Gucci and Waka Flocka who released their Ferrari Boyz record last Tuesday as well. That’s not to say the album didn’t fare well, but considering how Ace Hood came out of nowhere and scanned 26,000-plus, the duo could’ve made a more impressive showing. Hats off to Royce Da 5’9″ who may be in the best shape of career in terms of sales. Nickel Nine is still feeling the afterglow from Bad Meets Evil as Success Is Certain nearly hit 16,000 scans this week; a large step-up from his previous album’s first-week scans of 5,000. On a related note, Hell – The Sequel total of 443,532 for 11 weeks on the chart is nearly the same as Jay and Kanye’s first week scans. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they like the Em and Royce callabo more, so if you feel a certain way, be sure to comment below.
Jay-Z & Kanye West “Watch The Throne” – 436,079 (74% digital) [read review]
Ace Hood “Blood Sweat & Tears” – 26,329 (27% digital)
Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame “1017 Bricksquad Presents: Ferrari Boyz – 16,709 (26% digital)
Royce Da 5’9″ “Success Is Certain” – 15,860 (33% digital)
Yelawolf “Hard White (Up In The Club)” [single] – 6,549 (100% digital) [listen]
Ski Beatz “24 Hour Karate School, Pt. 2” – 406 (60% digital)
Def Jam issued a round of layoffs this week. In the wake of similar firings two months earlier, The Unversal Music Group-backed entity maintained it has created “a new centralized back-office structure and a ‘mandate to dramatically increase artist investments across its label.'” While it would clearly be a plus for Def Jam to increase investments in developing artists, it’s a little suspect that this swarm of layoffs is being spun as a positive outcome for the label, especially considering 50 Cent’s latest allegations that Def Jam is $80 million in the hole.
Are CDs dead? Since its introduction to the U.S. in last month, Spotify is said to have 4.57 million members (1.4 million U.S. members). What’s even more significant is that 1.54 million of said members have paid subscriptions to the streaming music service (175,000 in the U.S.). It is said that Spotify may introduce certain restrictions to non-paying members as they already do in Europe, including a limit of 5 plays per track and a 10-hour monthly limit. These restrictions reportedly led to 1.6 free members dropping the service in the Europe between January and June. Will Spotify’s growth impact physical album sales? Most likely. In July, CNN reported that CD sales dropped 22.5% from last year. However, Billboard analyst Keith Caulfield believes CDs will eventually develop a niche marketplace similar to vinyl.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise –40% of YouTube’s audience use the site to watch music videos. This is according to ComScore’s latest report. I would speculate that the percentage is far greater than ComScore’s report because it seems to only cover official music videos as it cites Vevo and Warner Music’s as being in the lead and does not account for songs that users have uploaded.