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On the charts: 'Glee' dominates, and the Black Keys crash the top 5 [UPDATED]

May 26, 2010 | 11:51 am


It's finale week on "American Idol," but without a personality on the par of an Adam Lambert, or even a pillow-soft upstart such as David Archuleta, it's another Fox series that has dominated the cross-media landscape. The latest music-related cash-in to "Glee" tops the North American chart at No. 1, opening with 136,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The 20-track disc "Glee -- The Music Volume 3: Showstoppers" features show-tune reworkings of songs from the likes of Lady Gaga and U2, among others, and keeps a reissue of of the Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main St." out of the top slot on Billboard's charts. Just last month, "Glee's" "The Power of Madonna" bowed at No. 1 with 98,000 copies sold, and Fox and Sony are certainly milking the series for all it's worth. On June 8, a "Glee" EP dubbed "Journey to the Regionals" will hit retailers.

Already, SoundScan reports that 1.2 million digital songs have been downloaded from "Showstoppers" over the last month. Last week alone, 316,000 tracks were downloaded, and of the 136,000 copies sold of "Showstoppers," 56,000 originated from the digital sector. 

Beyond "Glee," the boomer market again showed its muscle, snatching up 76,000 copies of a reissue of the Rolling Stones' "Exile On Main Street." The Billboard archives note that "Exile" spent four weeks at No. 1 after its release in 1972; the "Exile" bonanza comes just a few months after the Beatles stormed the charts with a reissue of its full catalog. Back in September, all 13 of the Beatles' remastered albums collectively sold 626,000 units in their first week of release -- led that week by "Abbey Road's” sales of 89,000. 

Other notes from this week's sales chart:

-- Last week was a down week at retail, with Nielsen SoundScan reporting that overall sales were the lowest since it began tracking data in 1991. Things are better this week, as SoundScan data indicate that the top four albums on this week's tally outsold last week's No. 1, which was Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0." Last week, the teen star led with 60,000 copies sold, and he adds an additional 62,000 album sales to his pot-o'-gold this week. To date, he's sold more than 1.1 million copies of "My World 2.0."

-- Brooklyn indie rockers the National were a surprise No. 3 entry on last week's chart. This week, that honor belongs to blues revivalists the Black Keys, whose Nonesuch effort "Brothers" lands with 73,000 copies sold. Previously, the band had never sold more than 30,000 copies in a single week, according to Billboard. The Danger Mouse-championed act has continued to increase its profile since the 2008 release of "Attack & Release," with Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney each delving into solo or side projects, including the hip-hop diversion Blakroc. Of the 40,000 copies sold of "Brothers," a mighty 30,000 were from the digital marketplace. 

-- Other notable newcomers this week include Band of Horses' "Infinite Arms" at No. 7 (45,000 copies), LCD Soundsystem's "This Is Happening" at No. 10 (31,000 copies) and Janelle Monáe's "The ArchAndroid" at No. 17 (21,000). LCD Soundsystem tallied more digital album sales than physical CD sales, as approximately 18,000 full-album downloads were sold compared with 14,000 CDs.

-- Todd Martens

UPDATED MAY 27, 2010: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the latest "Glee" release had 28 tracks. The deluxe version has 20 songs.

Photo: The "Glee" cast live in Los Angeles. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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