“Black Friday” Not So Great for Music Industry

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Is that still an “industry,” even? Billboard is pointing out that while many retail sectors are breathing a sigh of relief after post-Thanksgiving weekend sales rose slightly, the world of music you pay for didn’t do so well. First up, high profile album releases from Guns N’ Roses and Kanye West both underperformed expectations, with G N’ R’s Chinese Democracy selling around 250,000 copies (compared to expectations of 300-700K), and Kanye’s 808s and Heartbreak moving 425,000-450,000 units (while many expected double that). Maybe people just don’t like those albums? Unfortunately, it looks like music sales in general suffered as well: stores like Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart showed declines of up to 40% compared to last year.

Online retailer iTunes doesn’t release specific sales figures (although big discounts on Apple merchandise over the weekend might suggest there are more people out there to buy their music now). ITunes did give out a list of the biggest-selling albums and singles of the year, though, with Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” taking the respective top spots. A representative for Coldplay estimated at least 25% of their 2,000,000 US sales came through iTunes. Here are the full Top 10s:

Albums
1. Coldplay – Viva la Vida
2. Jack Johnson – Sleep Through the Static
3. Various – Juno OST
4. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
5. Sara Bareilles – Little Voice
6. Various – Once OST
7. Various – Across the Universe OST
8. Jason Mraz – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things
9. OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud
10. Leona Lewis – Spirit

Singles
1. Leona Lewis – “Bleeding Love”
2. Coldplay – “Viva La Vida”
3. Flo Rida – “Low”
4. Katy Perry – “I Kissed a Girl”
5. Rihanna – “Disturbia”
6. Rihanna – “Don’t Stop the Music”
7. Lil Wayne – “Lollipop”
8. Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown – “No Air”
9. Sara Bareilles – “Love Song”
10. Natasha Bedingfield – “Pocketful of Sunshine”

Hmm. Well, I guess the Lil Wayne album is pretty good, and that Juno soundtrack has Sonic Youth on it. Focus on the positive!

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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