Hollywood films may dominate the global B.O., but in the music world, it’s all about local vocals.
Few American exports have set the global music scene on fire. The biggest U.S. homegrown talents (Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, for example) are nowhere to be found on most international charts.
Across Europe, no album by a U.S. artist is in the top 10. (Singles fare a little better: Akon‘s “Smack That” and tracks by Gwen Stefani are hot American exports.)
Canada is the only other country embracing “American Idol” and the only territory to reward last season’s winner, Taylor Hicks, with a top 10 single.
In Brazil, “Don’t Cha,” from the Hollywood-Las Vegas creation Pussycat Dolls, was the year’s top single, but home-cooked hits dominated, with six of the top 10 entries. But it’s not all about native music in 2006. Big sellers outside the U.S. include hits compilations from English-speaking band Il Divo and the Beatles’ “Love.” And lately, the world has developed a craving for Pink.
The single-monikered singer from Pennsylvania saw her album “I’m Not Dead” peak at No. 6 in April and sell close to 500,000 copies in the U.S. before disappearing at the end of August. But she is boldly waving the American flag on charts in Australia, Russia and parts of Europe.
As for U.S. tastes, if it’s not country or rap, it’s likely British.
Yank record-buying auds decided to fall in line with the rest of the world in 2006, making songs by Brits — Daniel Powter‘s “Bad Day” and James Blunt‘s “Your Beautiful” — two of the year’s most popular and most purchased tracks.
Both hits were released internationally prior to the U.S. (Blunt’s single was, in fact, a worldwide smash in 2005.)
Year-end top 10 charts in the U.S. reflect a shift from rap and R&B toward the international.
Jamaican Sean Paul registered with “Temperature”; Canadian Nelly Furtado hooked up with “Promiscuous”; Colombia’s Shakira proved “Hips Don’t Lie”; and Brit Natasha Bedingfield scored with “Unwritten.”
And the other big — OK, obvious — trend is the Internet. Early in the year, the Arctic Monkeys stimulated the Brit music world with a collection of songs available only on the Web. The scramble to sign the rock band ended when it inked with U.K. indie Domino.
The Brit Web frenzy gave the American Gnarls Barkley a head start in the rest of the world when “Crazy” became the first chart-topping single available only as a download.
While the U.S. got in line with those two acts, the country remains resistant to embracing Take That, the chart-topping U.K. act that’s currently enjoying a nice run in the top 10 throughout Europe.