Taylor Swift's "Red" continues to dominate the Billboard 200, according to figures tallied by Nielsen SoundScan for the final sales week of 2012 from December 24-30. With 241,000 records sold, it even exceeded earlier estimates made by industry sources that it would sell at least 225,000 copies.
It is the pop-country music sweetheart's seventh non-consecutive week at the top spot. Combined with the 11 weeks at no. 1 achievement of her previous album "Fearless" and 6 weeks by "Speak Now", it ties her with Adele for female artist with most weeks at no. 1 with 24 weeks, with the latter's 24 weeks no. 1 all coming from her "21" album. However, it seems that Swift will soon be edging out Adele as "Red" looks uncontested at the moment, with no new major albums to be released within the week.
More than half of Swift's "Red" output were from download sales boosted by the redemption of download gift cards over the holidays. Other albums on the charts are also enjoying brisk sales thanks to consumers redeeming the gift cards they received as Christmas presents.
Far from the 241,000 units by "Red" is the 136,000 records of "Les Miserables: Highlights", but it was enough to lift them way up to 2nd place all the way from no. 33, with the film's Christmas Day opening greatly helping to drive the sales of the soundtrack up. The 31-position jump made by the "Les Mis" soundtrack was the biggest jump since the final week of February 2009, when Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand" jumped 67 spots after it won Album of the Year honors in the Grammys. Other movie musical soundtracks which previously rose to the top of the charts were "Mamma Mia!" in 2008 and "Hannah Montana: The Movie" the following year.
Rounding up the top 5 are old-timers in the top 10: One Direction's "Take Me Home" moving up to no. 3 from last week's fourth spot (120,000), Bruno Mars's "Unorthodox Jukebox" exchanging places with One Direction (110,000), and T.I.'s "Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head" going down from no.2 last week to the fifth spot due to a 59% drop in records sold (74,000).
With the exception of the top 8 track this week, all the albums at the bottom half of the top 10 largely benefited from marked-down sales by Amazon and iTunes. At no. 6 is Imagine Dragons' "Night Visions" (70,000), no. 7 is Rihanna's "Unapologetic" and no. 8 is Mumford & Sons' "Babel", both with almost identical 68,000 units sold.
At no. 9 is The Lumineers self-titled album with 61,000, and at the last spot in the top 10 is the "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack with 58,000. It's the Lumineers' best ranking and highest sales ever, same with "Pitch Perfect", whose re-entry into the charts was powered by the recent release of its DVD.