Chart Watch: Ke$ha Breaks Female Single Week Download Record

Ke$ha broke the record for highest single week download sales for a female as "Tik Tok" sold 610,000 downloads in a single week. The previous record, set by Lady Gaga's this same week last year, was 419,000 downloads for "Just Dance".

The week following Christmas has traditionally been one of the highest-volume download weeks of the year as newly unwrapped iPods are filled with music and recently gifted gift cards are used. Each holiday season, one song captures the national zeitgeist and benefits the most from the post-Christmas rush. In 2005 it was D4L's "Laffy Taffy, in 2006 it was Fergie's "Fergalicious", in 2007 it was Flo Rida's "Low", and last year it was Lady Gaga's "Just Dance".

Of this half decade's worth of songs, each was the debut single of a new artist with the exception of "Fergalicious" which was the second single of a new solo artist ("Fergalicious" is also the only song in this list that failed to go No. 1. It peaked at No. 2). This suggests that consumers viewed these songs as disposable pop tunes that were worth 99 cents (and now $1.29), whereas the full length albums by these unproven artists weren't worth paying for.

With each passing year, new download records were set as the iPod became more ubiquitous and iTunes filled the vacuum left by diminishing brick and mortar music stores. 2008 however, was the first year that the single week download record wasn't broken. Lady Gaga shifted a lot of downloads - 419,000 - but it failed to best Flo Rida's 467,000 downloads following Christmas 2007.

There are a lot of reasons this could have been. The recession had just begun, sales of iPods had slowed for no other reason than a lot of people already had one, and Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" might have reached its peak of popularity, but it was still over eight months old and had been on the charts for four of those months. Regardless, Lady Gaga's failure to continue the annual record breaking tradition seemed like bad news for the music industry which hoped digital downloading would make up for losses in their declining revenues.

Fortunately, a pair of songs in the following twelve months proved that the week after Christmas might not be the end-all-be-all. In February, Flo Rida demolished every previous single week download record when "Right Round" sold 636,000 copies. Then, the following week, the song sold another 460,000 downloads. We're talking some huge numbers here. Those two weeks currently stand as the No. 1 and No. 5 best single week sales for a song ever. In April, the Black Eyed Peas posted some amazing numbers for themselves when "Boom Boom Pow" sold 465,000 downloads. That puts them at No. 4 for best sales week ever.

By spring, once anxious record executives didn't have to worry about the less than record shattering numbers of Christmas 2008. Flo Rida and the Peas proved that a disposable pop tune can sell anytime of the year.

To the folks over at RCA then, Ke$ha's download numbers may have come as a surprise. The music press is talking so much about Ke$ha breaking the female one week download record, but perhaps more important is the fact that she had the second biggest one week download numbers ever. Her 610,000 downloads put her right behind 636,000 for "Right Round", which incidentally, she provided uncredited back-up vocals for.

So, this reversal of fortunes is over. Ke$ha has sold more than any other post-Christmas song in the past five years. Perhaps this is evidence that the recession is finally loosening its grip. Or there is something about the line, "And the boys are lining up cuz they say we got swagger, but we kick 'em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger," that resonates with Americans.

Actually, the answer to how Ke$ha was able to sell so much this week lies down at No. 8. The artist formerly known as Hannah Montana returns to the top ten as "Party In The U.S.A." jumps 19-8 thanks to an eye boggling 362% increase in sales from last week. So, if anyone plans on breaking Ke$ha's numbers next holiday season, the requirements are evident: make a song that tweens and people who appreciate crappy music will love, and you will sell boatloads.

1. Ke$ha - "Tik Tok" (second week at No. 1)
2. Iyaz - "Replay"
3. Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"
4. Owl City - "Fireflies"
5. Jay-Z - "Empire State of Mind" feat. Alicia Keys
6. Jason DeRulo - "Whatcha Say"
7. Jay Sean - "Down" feat. Lil Wayne
8. Miley Cyrus - "Party In The U.S.A."
9. David Guetta - "Sexy Chick" feat. Akon
10. Jay Sean - "Do You Remember" feat. Sean Paul & Lil Jon


vicm said...

I love this song. Stop making fun of it!!!

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