Sunday, 28 December 2014

Country Billboard Chart News December 17, 2014

Country Billboard Chart News December 17, 2014

In Brief:  Billboard Country Charts

Country Album Chart ** No.1 (1 week) Greatest Hits: Decade#1 Carrie Underwood
Hot Country Songs ** No.1 (3 weeks) ** “Shotgun Rider” Tim McGraw
Country Airplay ** No.1 (1 week) ** Shotgun Rider” Tim McGraw
Country Digital Songs ** No.1 ** (1 week) ** “The Old Rugged Cross” Craig Wayne Boyd

In this easy-to-use format discover where your favourite acts songs and album are charting across the four Billboard Country charts. It is prioritized by the first column showing the Hot Country Songs chart frame standings for the week of December 27, 2014.
There are also separate rows highlighting Women of Country music.

Scroll down for further details on each of the individual charts.

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Chart News

The Billboard 200 chart now includes on-demand streaming and digital track sales data
The new chart in its second week was compiled using a new multi-metric consumption methodology, adding together pure album sales with track equivalent album sales (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).

  • Year-to-date overall all genre album sales are down 12% year-to-date over 2013.
  • Physical CD sales are up 20% over last week, down 4% over the same week last year and down 16% year-to-date over 2013.
  • Digital album sales are up 7% over last week, down 17% over the same week last year and down 10% year-to-date over 2013.
  • Digital track sales are down 4% over last week, down 9% over the same week last year and down 12% year-to-date over 2013. Track-equivalent album sales are up 12.7% over last week and down 12.1% year-to-date over 2013.
 J. Cole's third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, easily debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart (BB200), marking the rapper's third consecutive chart-topper. He previously led the list with his debut effort, 2011's Cole World: The Sideline Story, and its follow-up, 2013's Born Sinner. 2014 Forest Hills Drive moved 375,000 equivalent units in the week ending Dec. 14, according to Nielsen Music. (The Billboard 200 chart measures multi-metric consumption, including pure album sales. The ranking includes on-demand streaming and digital track sales, in addition to traditional album sales, all measured by Nielsen.)
On the latest Billboard 200, 84% of the chart's total units (adding up the weekly unit totals of Nos. 1 through 200) are pure album sales. The rest of its units are track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
2014 Forest Hills Drive sold 353,538 copies in it first week, the sum is the fifth-largest sales week for an album in 2014, and the biggest for a hip-hop set in over a year.
 The only larger weeks this year were racked up by Taylor Swift's 1989 (in its first two frames: 1.29 million and 402,000, respectively), One Direction's first week with Four (387,000) and Coldplay's arrival with Ghost Stories (383,000).

Taylor Swift’s1989” fell to No.2 despite a 21% sales increase over last week and after five non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200. 
The Pop album has now surpassed the three million sales mark. “1989” shifted 324,000 units (up 18%), of which 277,607 were pure album sales (up 21%) and it has now scanned 3,003,615 at retail.
Comparing to her previous “country” releases
RED in its 7th week sold 166,999 (+22%; total 2,382,541) and SPEAK NOW in its 7th chart frame sold 201,318 (+14%; total 2,365,339)

To purely country music matters Carrie Underwood scored her fifth consecutive top five album, as her Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (19/Arista Nashville/SMN), made a bow at No.4 with 103,000 units (93,714 were pure album sales).
Underwood’s album entered the Billboard Top Country Albums at #1, displacing Garth Brooks's Man Against Machine.
  • It’s the first greatest hits album to top the country chart since Brooks & Dunn's #1s…and Then Some in September 2009; the first by a female artist to do this since Shania Twain's Greatest Hits had 11 weeks on top from November 2004 to January 2005.
  • The two-disc set markedthe biggest debut sales week for a country best-of since Toby Keith’s 35 Biggest Hits bowed with 103,000 on May 24, 2008.
  • It’s the best debut week for a country female artist’s hits package since Reba McEntire’s Reba: #1s began with 117,000 (Dec. 10, 2005).
  • Carrie’s is also the highest BB200 ranking for a newly-released greatest hits album since Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits II debuted and peaked at #3 in May 2009.
  • This is the first best-of collection for the singer, who previously logged four albums that reached the top two on the BB200: her “Some Hearts” debut (Released Nov 15, 2005; No.2 on Billboard 200; 315,000 debut sales), followed by three No.1s: “Carnival Ride” (Released Oct 23, 2007; 527,101 first week sales), “Play On” (Released Nov 2, 2009; 317,695 first week sales) and “Blown Away” (Released May 1, 2012, debut sales 267,338 copies). Carrie was only the third woman to take three country albums to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Linda Ronstadt and Faith Hill were the others.
Underwood's latest set is the highest-charting greatest hits album since the chart dated Aug. 25, 2012, when Frank Sinatra's Nothing But the Best re-entered at No. 3 (thanks to deep discounting by Amazon MP3). Underwood logs the biggest sales week for a best-of since Whitney Houston's Whitney: The Greatest Hits shifted 112,000 on the chart dated March 17, 2012 (in the wake of Houston's death), and the biggest sales debut for a hits set since Sinatra's Nothing arrived with 99,000 (at No. 2) on the May 31, 2008 chart.
Greatest hits albums are less vital in the iTunes era than they used to be. In a previous era, Underwood’s album would probably have vied for #1. Many previous artists have marked their first decade in the music business with compilations that had the word “decade” in the title. Underwood’s is the fourth to make the top five. Celine Dion's All the Way…A Decade of Song hit #1 in November 1999. Motley Crue's Decade of Decadence – ‘81-‘91 reached #2 in October 1991. Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade 1986/1996 hit #3 in October 1995.
On Hot Country Songs, “Something in the Water,” Underwood’s new single from the set, bulleted for a second week at No. 2 after a three-week run at No. 1 (having reached the summit on Nov. 22). A second new song, “Little Toy Guns,” enters the multimetric list at No. 40.

Carrie two-disc compilation, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, released Dec 9, 2014 featuring her latest hit, "Something in the Water," celebrates the approaching 10th anniversary of Carrie
launching her career on American Idol back in 2005. Since then, she's scored multiple #1 hits, including "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Cowboy Casanova," "Before He Cheats" and "Blown Away." Carrie wasn't sure she was ready to put out a best-of compilation when her record label first approached her, though.
"I was the first one to be like, 'I mean, I've only been doing this 10 years,'  but it's been 10 years," Carrie said. "If we waited much longer, we'd be out of two discs, hopefully!". Looking over the track listing, Carrie added, "It's really cool to kinda see my career, and well, my life over the past 10 years kinda chronicled in that way." Carrie's Greatest Hits also includes the rough demo versions of some of her biggest hits, and she was excited to let fans hear how these hits, like "Last Name," sounded before they got polished in the studio.

Promoting the album the pregnant star appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC) on Dec 8th.

Critical reception for Carrie Underwood’s Greatest Hits: Decade #1:
(2-CD) 25 tracks/ Time: 1:40:10 CD - MP3 - Smart Choice Music - 
Allmusic (Rating: 4 STARS).....If the subtitle "Decade #1" seems too optimistic, consider this: back in 2004, few ever would've bet that the winner of the third season of American Idol would still be on the charts. A decade later, Carrie Underwood was a genuine superstar who left her television roots far behind. Greatest Hits: Decade #1 helps bury those early American Idol memories by sandwiching her coronation song "Inside Your Heaven" between two bombastic new songs ("Something in the Water," the better of the two, opens up the proceedings, followed by "Little Toy Guns") and "Jesus, Take the Wheel," the song that truly kicked off her streak at the top of the country charts...... the 21 singles -- which are supplemented by three demos that reveal Carrie works well in a stark setting, too -- are of a piece, expertly constructed post-Shania and Faith Hill country-pop proving that Underwood is the new-millennial heir to their throne.

Rounding out the new Billboard 200's top 10 is Garth Brooks' MAN AGAINST MACHINE, descended 8-10 (2-1 Country) with 62,000 units (up 8% on previous weeks 57K). On the Top Album Sales chart, it fell 7-8 with the same sum, as the album is unavailable on streaming services, and its individual tracks are unavailable to purchase.

The other new entry on the Top 25 Country albums came via The Nashville Season 3, Volume 1 Official Soundtrack which made a debut at No.75 on the BB200 (#10 Country) selling 11,000 copies with the ABC Network program’s Christmas With Nashville holiday album sitting right behind it on both the Billboard 200 and Country Album charts.
As the winter finale of ABC’s “Nashville” drew closer, the plot lines grow thinner and the scant 10-song soundtrack followed suit. Domestic turmoil was the major theme this season as diva Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) became unexpectedly pregnant before the filming of a Patsy Cline biopic. Unfortunately, Panettiere’s excellent rendition of “Crazy” is omitted on the album. In a tumultuous love triangle, Charles “Chip” Esten (Deacon Claybourne) turns in a clichéd, yet pleasing acoustic ode, “I Know How To Love You Now “to the soon to be married Reyna James (Connie Britton) the woman he will always love...Read More

Critical reception:
Various Artists - Music Of Nashville: Original Soundtrack - Season 3, Volume 1 [US Exclusive Deluxe]
Allmusic (Rating: 4 Stars) ....One can argue that the only thing that keeps Nashville from being a
complete prime-time soap opera is the relatively consistent quality of its music. It is so strategically placed, episode by episode, that it offers both enhancements to and distractions from its various plot lines. Not only is this first soundtrack -- representing the first half of season three -- not an exception, it's among the better titles issued by the franchise and represents its characters well. While it's true that the principals -- actresses Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere -- only have one solo cut apiece, they are both excellent..... About the only thing missing here is a selection from Lennon & Maisy Stella -- which would make it perfect -- but song for song, the music here not only trumps everything the series has previously released, it can stand on its own.

Outside the top 25 Country Albums
On their second week at retail Willie Nelson And Sister Bobbie fell 26-34 with December Day: Willie's Stash. Vol. 1 (Legacy) and at No.44 there was a debut at #44 for Various Artists set Country Christmas (Ume)

2014 Country Album sales Year-To Date:
30,616,000 (Physical sales 20,964,000 (down 9%) + Digital sales 9,652,000 (down -8.2%)) which is 17.0% down at the same point in 2013 (36,901,000 sales)

Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Placings
(Issue dated Chart week of December 27, 2014)
(Country Album positions #1 - #25)
(TW) This Week, (LW) Last Week, Co (Country Album Chart placing / Movement)
Actual Album Sales (NOT including Track Sales + Streams which the Billboard 200 compile)

Top 25 Hot Country Songs (week of December 27, 2014)

On Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart - which blends:
a) All-format airplay, as monitored by BDS 
b) Sales, as tracked by Nielsen SoundScan and
c) Streaming, (tracked by Nielsen BDS from such services as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio and Xbox Music, among others) according to BDS it results in:

  • Tim McGraw held at No.1 for a third successive week with “Shotgun Rider” (McGraw/Big Machine).
  • Craig Wayne Boyd, the newly crowned seventh-season winner of NBC’s The Voice, placed new versions of classic compositions on Hot Country Songs for a fourth straight week. Gospel standard “The Old Rugged Cross” (Republic) is the Hot Shot Debut at No. 7 while his cover of Merle Haggard’s 1969 blue-collar anthem “Workin’ Man Blues” entered at No. 37. Boyd performed both songs on the Dec. 8 episode.
  • On the same evening, coach Blake Shelton and duet partner Ashley Monroe performed current single “Lonely Tonight” (Warner Bros./WMN) which helped it lift 21-5 with top Digital Gainer honours. The pair also performed the track on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Dec. 11. “Lonely Tonight” also reached a new peak (9-2) on Country Digital Songs (41,000 sold, up 147%).
Hot County Songs
** No.1 (3 weeks) ** “Shotgun Rider” Tim McGraw
** Airplay Gainer ** No.3 “Talladega”  Eric Church
** Digital Gainer ** No.5 “Lonely Tonight” “Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.7 “The Old Rugged Cross” Craig Wayne Boyd
** Streaming Gainer ** No.8 “I See You” Luke Bryan
Debut No.37 “Workin’ Man Blues” Craig Wayne Boyd
Debut No.40 “Little Toy Guns” Carrie Underwood
Debut No.49 “When I’ve Been Drinkin’ Jon Pardi

Billboard Country Airplay Chart Week of December 27, 2014

Tim McGraw collected his 27th No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay tally with “Shotgun Rider” (McGraw/Big Machine), which drew 47.603 million audience impressions (up 8%, a gain of +3.575 million) and received 7,813 radio plays (+732) and stepped 2-1, thus becoming the artist with the most No.1s dating to the chart’s launch 25 years ago (January 1990). 
During that time frame, McGraw breaks out of a three-way tie with Alan Jackson and George Strait (26 apiece) on a list that also includes Kenny Chesney (23), Brooks & Dunn (20), Toby Keith (20), Blake Shelton (18), Brad Paisley (18), Garth Brooks (18) and Keith Urban (17).
“Rider” written by Marv Green, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges was first released on Sept 8, 2014 as the third single from his second studio album for Big Machine Records, SUNDOWN HEAVEN TOWN. It peaked in its 15th chart week, marking the artist’s quickest chart-topping ascent in nearly four years. He hasn’t reached the summit faster since “Felt Good on My Lips” reigned in its 14th week on the Jan. 8, 2011 list. He clocked his fastest No. 1 when “It’s Your Love” (with Faith Hill) needed just five weeks to peak (June 7, 1997).
Top local audience exposure for “Rider” during the Dec. 8-14 Nielsen Music tracking week: KKBQ Houston (1.4 million impressions), WNSH New York (1.3 million), KKGO Los Angeles (1.1 million), WKLB Boston (1.1 million) and KMNB Minneapolis (902,000).

  • The heat quickly cooled on last week’s No.1 as Maddie & Tae’sGirl In A Country Song” which slumped 1-7 a 11.683 million audience loss and 5,610 radio plays (down 2,038).
  • Florida Georgia Line scored its seventh straight top 10 single with “Sun Daze” (Republic Nashville), which hopped 11-9 in its 10th chart week. The track is the second single from the duo’s sophomore album, ANYTHING GOES, which has sold 407,000 copies through the week ending Dec. 7, according to Nielsen Music. During that time frame, “Sun Daze” has sold 200,000 downloads — it debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the Oct. 4 Country Digital Songs chart.
  • Luke Bryan’sI See You” (Capitol Nashville) became the artist’s 17th top 10 on the Country Airplay chart, where it advanced 13-10 in its sixth chart week.
  • Blake Shelton’sLonely Tonight” (Warner Bros./WMN), featuring Ashley Monroe, earned Most Increased Audience honours logging 19.689 million impressions, up 30%, a gain of +4.514 million and received 3,335 radio plays.
  • Dierks Bentley stacked up the Most Added honours with “Say You Do” (Capitol Nashville) receiving 1,440 radio plays (+312) thanks to 17 fresh radio commitments (ADDS)
Women of Country 2014 Watch:

There were two solo female artists on the Top 30 Country Airplay songs with Carrie Underwood’s “Something In The Water” (7-5) and RaeLynn’s “God Made Girls” moving 21-20.
Kelsea Ballerini #35, Lucy Hale #58 and Katie Armiger #60 were the additional three solo females in the remaining 31-60 slots, to make it just 8.33% of the entire Top 60 chart.

Country Airplay
*** No.1 (1 week) *** "Shotgun Rider” Tim McGraw
** Most Increased Audience ** “Lonely Tonight” No.17 Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe
** Most Added ** “Say You Do” No.27 Dierks Bentley
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.55 "Girl Crush" Little Big Town
Debut No.57 “House Party” Sam Hunt
Debut No.59 “Raised By A Good Time” Steven Lee Olsen

Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart Week of December 27, 2014
With a similar pattern to the previous week saw NBC’s The Voice effect the Top 5 Downloads show contestant Craig Wayne Boyd along with his coach Blake Shelton, dominate the chart. Boyd returned to #1 with a southern gospel classic “The Old Rugged Cross” .
Watch his performance on the Live Semi Final.
Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe’s “Lonely Tonight” jumped 9-2 thanks to their performance of the song on the TV show. Last weeks No.1 RaeLynn with “God Made Girls” fell 1-5 to round out the top 5 shifting a further 22,000 downloads.
Just edged out of the Top 30 Carrie Underwood’sLittle Toy Guns” the second new song from her Decade #1 hits set made a bow at #31 selling 8,000 copies.

Women Of Country Watch
RaeLynn (1-5) with “God Made Girls”, Carrie Underwood with “Something In The Water” (No.3), Brenda Lee with the Christmas classic Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (18-17) and Faith Hill’s ” Where Are You Christmas? (27-30) were the 4 solo female acts on the Top 30.

Dropping off the Top 30:
5 - Off The Chart Craig Wayne Boyd “Take It Easy” 
21 - Off The Chart  Blake Shelton “God Gave Me You”   
22 - Off The Chart Kid Rock feat Sheryl Crow “Picture”
23-32 Frankie Ballard “Sunshine & Whiskey”   
27-36 Big & Rich “Look At You”
17-46 Craig Wayne Boyd “I Walk The Line”

Year-Over-Year Country Digital Track Sales:
2014: 126,861,000 ; down 16.8% compared to 152.464,00 million in 2013

Top 30 Digital Singles in Country Music (published December 18, 2014)
 (LW) Last Week (TW) This Week
*Numbers are rounded to nearest 1000th

Country Aircheck MEDIABASE Chart

Tim McGraw moved 2-1 to land No1 on Mediabase with “Shotgun Rider” (Big Machine). The song logged 7,914 radio spins (+616) and 56.273 million audience impressions from 149 tracking stations for the tracking week December 7 to December 13, 2014 and published chart December 15th.    
Congratulations to BIG MACHINE SVP/Promotion Jack Purcell, Nat. Dir./Radio Marketing Mandy McCormick, and the entire Big Machine Promotion team for scoring the week's #1 single on the MEDIABASE Country singles chart with Tim McGraw's "Shotgun Rider." The single is McGraw's third from his current album "Sundown Heaven Town." 

Congratulations to UMG NASHVILLE SVP/Promotion Royce Risser, Capitol Nashville VP/Promotion Shane Allen and the entire Capitol Promotion team for earning 49 MEDIABASE adds on Little Big Town's new single, "Girl Crush." Those adds give LBT the "Most Added" title for the tracking week. Treats were due to be delivered to the staff (Dec 15) to celebrate their success.

For a detailed report check out Country Aircheck Weekly Issue 427 - December 15, 2014 [PDF File]
For the very latest up to the minute Mediabase Chart (Past 7 Days) go here -

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