Music sales dip after holidays

18% increase seen over 2003 figures

A correction was made to this article on Jan. 8, 2004.

HOLLYWOOD — Outkast remains at No. 1 after the usual post-holiday sales slump — the rap duo’s “Speakerboxxx/The Lover Below” slid 60% to 151,000 units sold for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan.

The good news is that overall album sales are up 18% from 2003 figures, a welcome sign considering how an early five-week slump put the music business behind the eight ball for nearly all of last year.

With no major new releases the day before New Year’s Eve, the upper reaches of the chart saw only a gentle reshuffling. Most intriguing is the staying power of Jay-Z’s “The Black Album” (Def Jam), which rose six spots to No. 6 on sales of 88,000. The former No. 1 disc had dropped as low as No. 30 before re-ascending the chart.

“Diary of Alicia Keys” (J Records) continues to hold onto second place, selling 116,000 copies. That’s less than a third of the sales posted the week of Christmas, a fate that also befell Toby Keith’s “Shock’n Y’all” (DreamWorks) at No. 9 and Josh Groban’s “Closer” (Warner) at No. 11.

Most top-10 discs saw slides of between 50% and 60%, among them “The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” (Geffen) at No. 4 on sales of 103,000, No Doubt’s “Singles 1992-2003” (Interscope) at No. 5 (99,000) and Ruben Studdard’s “Soulful” (J) at No. 10 on 83,000 sold.

Among the chart’s longtimers, Evanescence’s Fallen (Wind-up) rose nine slots to No. 7 on sales of 85,000 and Linkin Park’s “Meteora” (Warner) had a similar jump to No. 16 on sales of 63,000.

Being in the news had opposite effects on two performers: The married-for-a-day Britney Spears’ “In the Zone” (Jive) dropped to No. 14 on sales of just under 70,000, while Michael Jackson’s “Number Ones” (Epic) rose 27 spaces to No. 39 on sales of 38,000.

The Christmas release of “Cold Mountain” pushed its soundtrack to No. 114 after not appearing in the top 200 upon its release. The album of folk-inspired music sold 16,000 copies. “Something’s Gotta Give” soundtrack also made its chart debut, selling 11,000 copies to hit No. 162.

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