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Album sales hit new low

Cake's 'Compassion' marks lowest tally ever for No. 1 disc

Music sales continued to bottom out last week as Cake’s latest, “Showroom of Compassion,” set another record as the lowest-selling No. 1 album in Nielsen SoundScan history.

The Sacramento-based band’s sixth solo album sold 44,000 copies its first week in stores, according to SoundScan data for the week ended Sunday, Jan. 16. That’s 8,000 fewer units than the previous week’s figure for Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now,” which set the earlier record for the lowest-selling chart-topper of the post-1991 SoundScan era.

Two other albums bowed with minuscule sales in a week in which just the top 40 albums on the chart sold more than 10,000 units.

Kentucky indie rock band Cage the Elephant made a low-watt top 10 entry (its first) with “Thank You Happy Birthday”(Relentless), which arrived at No. 2 with 39,000 sold. Country duo Steel Magnolia’s self-titled Big Machine debut moved in at No. 7 with a 28,000-unit frame.

After five weeks back at No. 1, “Speak Now” dropped to No. 3 last week with a 35,000-unit total, off 32%. Swift’s collection was succeeded in the top five by Bruno Mars’ “Doo Wops and Hooligans” (No. 4, 32,000 sold, down 15%) and Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday” (No. 5, 32,000, down 17%).

Filling out what passes for a top 10 were the “Country Strong” soundtrack (No. 6, 29,000, up 1%), Rihanna’s “Loud” (No. 8, 28,000, off 16%), Mumford and Sons’ “Sigh No More” (No. 9, 26,000, down 16%) and Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (No. 10, 25,000, off 24%).

Retailers are looking hopefully to fresh titles by James Blunt, the Decemberists and Social Distortion, poised for debuts this week.

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