NPR

Sara Bareilles Wins The Week, But The Top Spot Isn't What It Used To Be

Album sales once again hit record lows (last week SoundScan tracked 4.83 million units sold, the lowest number since the company started tracking in 1991, and the third time that achievement has been met this year), but even with dismal numbers, someone still has to be number one. This week, the crown goes to Sara Bareilles' Kaleidoscope Heart.

The top spot isn't what it used to be, though. With only 90,000 units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, Bareilles sold less than half of what Katy Perry did with Teenage Dream's debut just two weeks ago (192,000).

This week, we also see some impact from Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards -- although it's likely that all of the advertising for the show affected this week's numbers more than the show itself. The network is seen by many as a declining force in the music industry, but the VMA winners and nominees have enjoyed notable jumps in sales:

Eminem climbs back to the No. 2 spot from No. 8, in his eleventh consecutive week on the Billboard 200. The rapper won awards for Best Hip-Hop Video and Best Male Video, in addition to performing at the VMAs. Justin Bieber also had a surge in sales following his win for Best New Artist. His My World 2.0 jumped back into the Top 10 from No. 13.

The real hero of the week, however, is Florence + the Machine. Although the British singer is well outside the Top 10, Lungs sales skyrocketed by an impressive 70 percent, moving from No. 100 to No. 44. Florence Welch's single "Dog Days Are Over" was nominated for several VMAS (Video of the Year, Best Rock Video and Best Cinematography), but took home only one for Best Art Direction. "Dog Days"' airtime, as well as Welch's eye-catching performance of the song at the VMAs, no doubt contributed to the album's massive leap up the charts.

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