Taylor Swift's "Red" remained the nation's top… (Evan Agostini / Associated…)
Taylor Swift’s “Red” appeared to be the music gift of choice among last-minute shoppers, posting a sixth week in the No. 1 slot in the final week before Christmas and adding another 276,000 copies to its total, which is closing in on 3 million.
Rapper T.I. came in with the highest chart debut of the week, his new “Trouble Man: Heavy is the Head” landing at No. 2 with 179,000 copies, just edging out Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” which drops one slot to No. 3 on second-week sales of 178,000 copies.
Sales of “Red” increased sales from the previous week by 32%. Teen idol band One Direction also sustained interest at retail, its second album, “Take Me Home,” increasing 39%, to 177,000 copies, over the previous week, putting it on the Billboard 200 Albums chart at No. 4, the same position it held last week.
Among actual holiday collections, Michael Buble’s 2011 CD “Christmas” dropped a couple of notches, from 3 to 5, but increased sales slightly from the previous week, selling another 148,000 copies to push it past the 3-million mark since its release last year. Rod Stewart’s “Merry Christmas Baby” also showed a slight (4%) sales increase, to 113,000 copies, but dropped one position to No. 5.
One surprise to many in the music industry is the less-than-powerhouse greeting the public gave the “12-12-12: The Concert For Sandy Relief” all-star benefit album. Billboard reported that industry sources were expecting first week sales of 125,000 to 150,000 following the widely broadcast and webcast concert featuring the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Bon Jovi and other performers. But it entered the chart at No. 9 on first week sales of 82,000 copies.
For the week ending Sunday, total album sales reached 12.8 million, down slightly from last year when the reporting period ended on Christmas Day, and totaled 15.1 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
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