Chart Watch: Taio Cruz Gives America Its First 99 Cent No. 1

     I didn't see this coming.  I don't think anyone did.  British singer Taio Cruz goes No. 1 with his debut single in the U.S. as "Break Your Heart" feat. Ludacris leaps 53-1.  That move gives Cruz the record for biggest jump to No. 1 for a debut single, beating out Kelly Clarkson's 52-1 leap for "A Moment Like This" in 2002.

     "Break Your Heart" was released in the U.K. September 2009 where it topped the charts for three weeks.  As an avid British music fan, I took a liking to this disposable pop tune, but was disappointed (as I usually am) when I couldn't legally download it from iTunes.  Despite the success of artists like Coldplay and Leona Lewis, British acts usually have a hard time breaking into the American market and fail (Robbie Willaims) and some, despite being some of the most amazing music makers on the planet, never even try (Girls Aloud).  I assumed "Break Your Heart" would never make any impact on our shores.

     What a surprise it was to see "Break Your Heart" available on iTunes last week.  Naturally, they had to slap on a rapper to appease America, but this British smash hit was now available to purchase legally, and it was only 99 cents.

     Early in 2009, iTunes introduced three tier pricing to its online store.  No longer would every song be 99 cents, but labels could also charge 69 cents or $1.29 for a song.  The price of all the biggest hits went up, but chart watchers wondered when a label would drop the price to entice more consumers to buy, and thus get a bigger hit.

     One of the first examples of this was just two months ago when a desperate Timbaland dropped the price of "Carry Out" featuring Justin Timberlake.  The result?  "Carry Out" became the biggest hit of Timbaland's under-performing Shock Value II, peaking at No. 11

     Island Records decided to try the same strategy to break Cruz in the States.  Taking his hit, they slapped Ludacris on and sent it to iTunes for a buck, ensuring "Break Your Heart" would sell well.  The track sold 272,000 copies last week, good enough to make its pathetic ranking of No. 52 on the radio chart irrelevant.

     In true capitalist form, "Break Your Heart" is no longer 99 cents.  Taio got his No. 1, his song is still selling well online, so why not bump it up to $1.29?

     As Taio's sales cool and his radio airplay catches up, it's likely that "Break Your Heart" will be unable to hold onto No. 1 next week.  Expect there to be tough competition to replace it.  Lady Antebellum moves into No. 2 this week with "Need You Now" and if its radio airplay continues to hold strong and it can shift a healthy number of downloads, it has a shot of becoming the first country No. 1 on the Hot 100 since Carrie Underwood in 2005 with "Inside You're Heaven". Rihanna continues to climb with "Rude Boy" which moves 8-4 this week.  "Rude Boy" is behind only "Break Your Heart" as the most downloaded song in America, giving her a good shot at scoring her sixth No. 1 hit.  Don't underestimate Lady Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone" which is sure to make it's top ten debut next week after the video lit the Internet on fire.

1. "Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris
2. "Need You Now"- Lady Antebellum
3. "BedRock" - Young Money feat. Lloyd
4. "Rude Boy" - Rihanna
5. "Imma Be" - Black Eyed Peas
6. "Tik Tok" - Ke$ha
7. "Hey Soul Sister" - Train
8. "In My Head" - Jason DeRulo
9. "Bad Romance" - Lady Gaga
10. "How Low" - Ludacris


Anonymous said...

honestly, I do believe they make the popular songs $1.29 on iTunes... i've purchased songs for 99 cents, and then a few weeks later they become $1.29!

Post a Comment