After Five-Week Climb, ‘Dreamgirls’ Is #1 As Album Sales Slump

Akon, Daughtry hang on for top-three finishes in first week of 2007.

When the nation’s chart-topping album sells a mere 66,000 copies, you know the music industry endured a rather excruciating week — especially considering this same week last year, Jamie Foxx’s Unpredictable topped Billboard‘s albums sales chart with 131,500 scanned.

During the first week of 2007, overall sales of the albums on Billboard‘s top 200 took a nosedive, from 4.8 million the week prior to 2.9 million, according to the latest SoundScan figures. And oddly enough, one year later, Foxx is once again in the #1 slot — along with Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy.

The soundtrack to the motion picture “Dreamgirls,” which debuted on the chart five weeks ago at #20 with 92,000 units sold and features contributions from the film’s talented cast, has been slowly making its way towards Billboard‘s apex. The album slid to #41 (with sales close to 64,000) its second week, then rose 10 positions to #31 (125,000 sold) the next. Last week, “Dreamgirls” finally penetrated the top 10, finishing at #3 with 104,000 copies snatched up. And this week, “Dreamgirls” leads the Billboard pack, coming in at #1 with 66,000-plus scans.

Just two albums debuted on this first chart of ’07, but none cracked the top 10 — and not a single album in the top 10 experienced even a slight rise in sales. Following “Dreamgirls” at #2 is Akon’s Konvicted, selling 63,700 units, which suffered a 43 percent sales hit. At #3 is the self-titled debut from Daughtry, the band fronted by “American Idol” finalist Chris Daughtry; sales of that release dropped 27 percent to almost 56,000 copies sold. Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds checks in at #4 with nearly 52,000 disappearing from the nation’s record retailers, while the Now That’s What I Call Music! 23 collection, boasting contributions from Timberlake, Fergie, Snoop Dogg, Christina Aguilera and others, follows at #5 with 48,000 copies sold; sales of the LP fell nearly 50 percent.

The soundtrack to the Disney Channel original series “Hannah Montana” climbs four places to #6, with sales of 43,000 and change, even though total sales of the disc were down from the previous week by 40 percent. Young Jeezy’s The Inspiration slips two spots to #7, with 45,000 sold, followed at #8 by Nas’ Hip Hop Is Dead with a little more than 45,000 scanned. The Beatles’ Cirque du Soleil soundtrack project Love climbs four positions to #9, selling 44,500, and rounding out the top 10 is last week’s #1, Omarion’s 21. Week-two sales of the disc dropped 65 percent to 42,000, helping the R&B star edge out Beyoncé’s B’Day by a mere 43 copies.

While issued as a very limited release on the Friday after Christmas (see “Has Mos Def’s New LP Been Released? Yes And No, Label Says …” ), Mos Def’s album was among the seven albums on this week’s chart to experience sales jumps. The rapper’s Tru3 Magic rockets from #151 to #78, selling 11,500 units, a 15 percent sales spike. The highest-charting debut of the week belongs to Carly Simon’s Into White, which claims the #15 slot with 40,000 units scanned. Meanwhile, the week’s other newcomer — The Essential Elvis Presley, a two-disc set featuring some of the King’s most beloved hits — bows at #72 with 12,500 sold.