Radio ushers in top disc

TV, film exposure boosts disc sales

Video may still kill the radio star, but it’s helping make SoundScan stars out of the folks on TV and in film.

Jessica Simpson’s “In This Skin” (Columbia) was the week’s biggest gainer, rising to No. 4 on sales of 113,000 in the week leading up to her ABC “Variety Hour” special with husband Nick Lachey.

William Hung, ridiculed and then tossed from the “American Idol” competition, debuted at No. 34 as his “Inspiration” (Koch) sold 38,000 copies. Also, “The Passion of the Christ” nearly doubled its sales in the week preceding Easter.

But proving that the radio star isn’t a thing of the past, Usher had another strong week at No. 1, selling 463,000 copies of “Confessions” (La Face). Sales represented a mere 5% dip as cume roared past 2 million in just three weeks.

The traditional Easter week spike saw sales rise 5% over last week as 31 of the 46 nondebuting CDs in the top 50 saw sales rise. Sales were up 21% compared with the same week last year. (Actual year-to-year Easter week comparisons will be available next week.) Compared with last year, top 25 sales are up 15%, while top 200 sales are up about 25%.

Discs that saw rises skewed toward adult auds: Norah Jones’ “Feels Like Home” (Blue Note) rose to No. 5 on sales of 197,000. Kenny Chesney’s “When the Sun Goes Down” (BNA) was up to No. 7 with sales of 98,000. Josh Groban’s “Closer” popped up to No. 12, selling 78,000. “Kidz Bop Kids Vol. 5” (Razor &Tie) more than doubled sales to 36,000.

Yo-Yo Ma’s “Vivaldi’s Cello” (Sony Classical) debuted at No. 1 on the classical chart, selling 8,000 — his best week ever for a purely classical work.

Evanescence’s “Fallen” (Wind-up) saw a 20,000 sales spike to 105,000 and OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” sold 78,000 units, a bump of 23,000.

Notable debuts included R&B singer Tamia’s “More” (Elektra), popping in at No. 17 on sales of 71,000; alt rockers Modest Mouse did a career best 68,000 for “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” (Epic), landing at 19; and Barry Manilow’s “2Nights Live!” (BMG) felt the magic at No. 27 on sales of 42,000.

“Songs Inspired by ‘The Passion of the Christ'” (Universal South), a collection hand-picked by Mel Gibson, sold 25,000 in its first week, only 3,000 copies behind the debut of Dilated Peoples’ “Neighborhood Watch” (Capitol) at No. 55.

Easter week was especially good for catalog items. Seeing sales spikes were greatest hits albums by Sheryl Crow, No Doubt, Alan Jackson, the Beach Boys, the Eagles, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Bob Seger and Leann Rimes.

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