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“Obviously we’re thrilled, dummy.”
——J Records EVP Richard Palmese
GRAMMY SALES SPIKE IS REAL
Key Records Sell Buttloads More After Awards
It’s really a game of numbers. The ratings for the 44th Annual Grammy Awards were down—averaging just under 19 million viewers, compared to nearly 25 million and up during each of the past three years. Wednesday's showing marked the lowest average Grammy audience since 17.3 million tuned in to the 1995 telecast.

That said, those numbers were enough to dominate prime-time television for the evening and produce numbers of a different type.

Among the post-Grammy victors feeling the afterglow from the three-and-a-half hour lovefest is Lost Highway/IDJ’s O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which soars #15-2 on the HITS Top 50 Albums chart (up 278%), thanks to a handful of trophies and an earful of live performances. After already proving itself as a MONSTER reaction record, this one was kind of academic.

“Since the record wasn’t exposed by the traditional means of radio and video, whenever someone is turned on to it—whether they see the film on cable or DVD—they buy it,” said Lost Highway Emperor Luke Lewis. “And I thought the performances on the Grammys were brilliant.”

Meanwhile, it wasn’t just Clive’s pre-Grammy soiree that made J’s Alicia Keys the happiest gal in the whole U.S.A. Songs in A Minor experienced a 117% increase, jumping #19-4 and setting the stage for yet another long run.

“Obviously we’re thrilled, dummy,” said J Records Executive Vice President Promotion Richard Palmese. “Everyone in America—make that the world—should own this breakthrough album.” Palmese and team are taking the next single, a cover of Prince song “How Come You Don’t Call Me,” to all formats on Monday.

Another giant Grammy increase belonged to Interscope’s U2, which jumped #33-8 thanks to a 117% jump in sales. Of course, you can never underestimate a Time magazine cover shot—which includes the headline “Can Bono Save The World?”—when it comes to selling music.

And make that dot in India.Arie’s name a decimal point. That’s right, even a Grammy shutout can mean sales, as the Motown diva’s sales jumped 59%, pushing her album #30-15 on this week’s chart.

Other artists who will tell you they’re far more concerned with art than commerce are Columbia’s Train and DreamWorksNelly Furtado, both of whom re-entered the HITS Top 50. Amid all that individual wackiness is UTV’s Grammy Nominees 2002, which jumped #37-19 (+76%).

But in the end, it really is all about the O Brother soundtrack, ain’t it? How far can this one fly? “We’re still at the mercy of Country radio’s agenda, and they’re very reluctant to step out as far as this record does,” said Lewis. “But this is a quantum leap.”

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