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Nu-metallurgists Puddle of Mudd saw Rock/PoMo smash "Blurry" catapult their debut album to 133k at the height of the holidays, putting it on track for multi-Platinum sales.
ON RECORDS:
DEVELOPING-ARTIST SALES
The Reckoning
By Jon O'Hara & Lenny Beer

At the top of last November, the above-named co-conspirators boldly went out on a limb and singled out 13 new or developing artists who looked likely to see better-than-average sales increases over the holidays. Now, as we fire up the sausage-maker one more time here at HITS (your #1 source for sausage-making co-conspirators going out on limbs—and falling off), it's time to take a look at how well these artists actually did.

A review of sales figures from November through the end of the year reveals that 12 of our original group increased their sales during the period. And given that the early weeks of the year will be quiet in terms of major releases, that holiday momentum will serve them well as their labels take them to the next level. Below is a review of the 12 winners, plus a new year's Wildcard to watch as the year progresses.

Ryan Adams (Lost Highway): Gold went from selling about 7.5k per week in November to just shy of 15k before Christmas. Last week, the album logged 11k. With "New York, New York" clicking at radio since September, Adams is likely to see more airplay this year. Grade: C+   Prognosis: If the single breaks, Gold sales are just around the corner.

Adema (Arista): Rock's still on the rise—this album sold under 10k per week in November but ended the year pushing 17k. As second single "The Way You Like It" takes hold, and its crushing new video (already hot on MTV2) gains exposure, the buildup should continue. Grade: C+   Prognosis: Rock albums take time.

Michelle Branch (Maverick): First single "Everywhere" is a Top 10 winner, and sales of The Spirit Room hovered around 16k in November but spiked to over 40k by Christmas. Second single "Everything You Wanted" will be worked by Tom Whalley's revamped Warner Bros. Records. Grade: B   Prognosis: Second single, already off to a great start, will tell the tale.

Coldplay (Capitol): Parachutes has picked up steam behind third single "Trouble." With the band's radio cred peaking, the album's sales—which built to over 30k per week during the holidays from 14k in early November—have now passed Platinum. Grade: A-   Prognosis: New album scheduled for second quarter could be huge.

Craig David (Atlantic): Two-stepping into the U.S. market in July, Born to Do It sold well on the strength of Top 10 single "Fill Me In." Building from a 16k weekly clip in November to a whopping 64k Christmas week, the album is benefiting from second single "Seven Days," which continues to develop at rhythm and mainstream. Grade: A   Prognosis: Finally feels unstoppable.

Five for Fighting (Columbia): Sales of America Town have lagged in comparison to airplay for second single "Superman," which is still being pounded at Adult formats and is Top 10 at Top 40. But with MTV and VH1 onboard, sales went from around 20k in  November to over 40k at the holiday peak. Grade: B   Prognosis: One more hit could be magic time.

Hoobastank (Island): "Crawling in the Dark," Top 15 at Rock and Top 10 at PoMo, is still building. The Nov. 20 album sold 18k in its first week and ended the year selling 36k. With the video gaining behind the radio story, look for this one to continue to build. Grade: B   Prognosis: Just a matter of big or REALLY big.

Petey Pablo (Jive): With "Raise Up" becoming a Crossover anthem and Top 40, MTV and BET kicking in, Diary of a Sinner posted sales of 103k and debuted in the Top 10. While it settled some thereafter, the album climbed back to a healthy 61k at the peak of the holiday season. Watch out for what this playa from the dirty-dirty does for an encore. Grade: A-   Prognosis: If the second cut is real, there's no limit.

Puddle of Mudd (Flawless/Geffen): Clearly the winners of the pack, these nu-metallurgists saw Rock/PoMo smash "Blurry" catapult Come Clean to 133k at the height of the holidays and put the album on track for multi-Platinum sales. With MTV on it and a tour coming in January, expect this one to grow and grow. Grade: A+   Prognosis: Will be bigger in 2002 than in 2001. Linkin Park part two!

The Strokes (RCA): They've captivated more than just critics, as demonstrated by the sales of their debut, which went from 18k per week in November to over 40k at Christmas. "Last Nite" is still gaining at PoMo, as a major tour continues. MTV loves them. What more do they need? Look for this to get bigger before it gets bigger. Grade: B   Prognosis: Explosive press support has turned this into a quick seller. Still early, but already hot.

Tenacious D (Epic): With Jack Black's film career lighting up with comedies such as Shallow Hal and Orange County, the profile of the D has been raised as well. The "band" was selling at about 14k per week at the beginning of November but picked up steam, topping 23k by the end of the year. Grade: C+   Prognosis: Jack Black's star is rising, and this album could be a long-term winner.

Pete Yorn (Columbia): APM darling and artist-development poster boy Yorn has made some inroads at PoMo as well with "For Nancy ('Cos it Already Is)." musicforthemorningafter saw a 10k uptick throughout the holidays, selling well over 17k per week at Christmastime. Grade: B-   Prognosis: At 300k now and ready for the big radio push. Selling out everywhere and ready to go.

WILDCARD
Default (TVT): "Wasting My Time" is already a Top 10 PoMo and Active Rock smash and is likely to cross to other formats soon. With sales of The Fallout flirting with 30k in recent weeks and a tour with Nickelback ongoing, look for this project to have a huge 2002.

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