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RCA took a gamble by releasing The Strokes’ third album on the first Tuesday of ’06. The possible upside was that the LP would be all by itself in record stores…which was also the possible downside.

2005 ENDS WITH A WHIMPER,
2006 STARTS WITH A YAWN

Aren’t You Glad 2005 Is Over? But Don’t
Expect Any Relief From Week One of 2006
Have you heard that way-clever single by Hot Hot Heat, “Middle of Nowhere”? It could serve as retail’s theme song for the final week of 2005 and the first few days of the new year.

The last week of December was once an active period for music retail, but more recently it has degenerated into one of the deadest weeks of the year. Album sales during the week ending Jan. 1 were down 49.6%, or 16.5 million units, from the week leading up to Christmas—no surprise there. What is mildly surprising is that business was up 5.2%, or 829k, over week 53 of 2004.

With nary a debut, you could pretty much guess the weekly Top 10 if you’ve been paying any attention whatsoever to the music biz in recent months. If you expected Mariah Carey to finish up her comeback year at #1, you expected…wrong. The 83.2k pieces of The Emancipation of Mimi (Island/IDJ) that crossed retail counters was enough for #10 on the week, cinching #1 for the year.

The chart-topper was Jamie Foxx (J/RMG), who moved 178.3k in his second week. Foxx was followed by four more December releases: Mary J. Blige (Geffen) at 174.5k, Eminem’s hits set (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) at 170.9k, that posthumous duets album from the Notorious B.I.G. (Bad Boy/Atlantic) at 138.4k and 2005 AI winner Carrie Underwood (Arista/RMG) at 119.2k.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Nickelback, Now 20, Black Eyed Peas, Fall Out Boy (one of the year’s big success stories) and Mariah.  

RCA took a gamble by releasing The Strokes’ third album, First Impressions of Earth, on the first Tuesday of ’06. The possible upside was that the LP, which has been getting positive early press, would be all by itself in record stores…which was also the possible downside. So far it looks like a wash, with the album trending toward 100k, give or take, without any big story behind it, making it a strong bet for Top 10 next week, and maybe Top 5. That’s 26k less than the first-week total of the Strokes’ previous album, 2003’s Room on Fire, which stalled out immediately thereafter, though it did eventually get certified gold.

One last, less than fond look back on 2005: Final-week sales were 16.7 million, putting the final tally for 2005 at 618.9 million pieces, 9.2% below the previous year’s 53-week total of 681.4 million. Downloads for 2005 rose 193.6% to 16.2 million, a healthy increase but still a long way from salvation.

Now we have something really exciting to look forward to—January.

REVENUE CHART:
RAINING CATS & DOGS
Starring Doja Cat, Nipper and Ms. Larry David (5/13a)
RECORDING ACADEMY LOCKS IN HARVEY MASON JR. AS CEO
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. (5/14a)
TIME TRAVELING
WITH CLIVE (UPDATE)
Beam us up, Uncle Clive. (5/13a)
ROCK HALL INDUCTEES:
NEW & OVERDUE
Todd gets in. Finally. (5/13a)
KG's HOT ALT SUMMER
She also reviews the best outdoor Bluetooth speakers. (5/13a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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