Soundscan Surprises, Week of 1/5

Back-catalog sales numbers of note from Nielsen SoundScan.

The definition of “back catalog” is: “at least 18 months old, have fallen below №100 on the Billboard 200 and do not have an active single on our radio.”

TW = This Week; LW = Last Week

Toto, we’re not in Christmas anymore. It’s January and back catalog sales are back in the toilet. Nearly every single record experienced a negative percentage change in sales from the week prior, because once Christmas is over I guess we just stop shopping. The numbers have taken such a dive that the top five records’ sales are down 54, 20, 40, 63, and 36 per cent, respectively. That’s rough! The only two albums to experience positive growth on the back catalog did so because their sales numbers increased relative to zero, which is to say it was their first week on the charts. Pity the poor souls, Chicago(’s Very Best Of), and Marconi Union. The latter is an “ambient music trio” from the UK. According to their website:

In 2011 MU were commissioned to write a piece of music that people would find relaxing. They received consultation from Lyz Cooper a Sound Therapist, who advised them on some of the technical issues relating to how the human body responds to sound.

Mm, yes, body sounds. This sounds exactly like what you’d expect to hear when you walk into a purple-lit room with sensory deprivation tanks. Please do not enjoy this music video of a UFO drone with lights hovering over a mountain lake and continuously multiplying until it becomes physically uncomfortable to behold and you start to ponder the nature of your existence, and also light reflected in pools of water:

The top-selling record (Vessel by Twenty One Pilots, who still don’t have a hyphen in their name) clocked in at 8,301 copies. The only Christmas albums left are Pentatonix (TWO of them), Charlie Brown (Vince Guaraldi, I know, I know) and Michael Bublé, and both the fact of their existence on the charts and their rankings is a lot to marvel at.

Did you know there are four and one third versions of The Essential Bob Dylan? There’s the standard American version, released in 2000—a two-disc set that received an additional disk in a “limited edition 3.0 version” in 2009. Then there’s the British and Australian versions, which are significantly longer and include more songs in slightly different order because that is how the British Empire likes it. Then there were re-releases (new versions? Hard to say what’s new except like “updating your Bob Dylan playlist in iTunes to include maybe one new weird song”) in 2010 and 2014. This latest “2014 Revised” comes in at #200, because Bob Dylan will always be relevant, especially now that he won the Pulitzer, but even more so when he dies, whenever that is, because you need to realize right now that’s going to happen one day. Just get ready. Oh and George Michael died, remember :(

4 MICHAEL*GEORGE FAITH 5,172 copies

7. PENTATONIX THAT'S CHRISTMAS TO ME 4,650 copies

25. MICHAEL*GEORGE TWENTY­-FIVE (2CD) 2,935 copies

26. MICHAEL*GEORGE LADIES & GENTLEMEN-­BEST OF GEO 2,765 copies

45. CHICAGO VERY BEST OF: ONLY THE BEGINNING 2,334 copies

84. GUARALDI*VINCE TRIO CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS 1,585 copies

90. MARCONI UNION WEIGHTLESS (AMBIENT TRANSMISSION) 1,555 copies

105. PENTATONIX PTXMAS 1,487 copies

164. MICHAEL*GEORGE SYMPHONICA 1,155 copies

198. BUBLE*MICHAEL CHRISTMAS 1,066 copies

200. DYLAN*BOB THE ESSENTIAL (2014 REVISED) 1,059 copies

(Previously.)