Cake sets record for lowest selling No. 1 album

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The year is off to a rotten start for the music industry, with the new No. 1 album setting a new record for the smallest sales total.

Alternative rock band Cake debuted at No. 1 for the first time in its career after selling just 44,000 copies of its new album “Showroom of Compassion” during the week ended January 16, according to Nielsen SoundScan data issued Wednesday.

It’s the smallest week for a No. 1 album since the tracking firm began recording point-of-sales data in 1991, and beats a record set only last week when Taylor Swift’s hit album “Speak Now” led the field with 52,000 units in its 11th week of release.

Cage the Elephant’s “Thank You Happy Birthday” debuted at No. 2 on the latest chart with 39,000 units, while Swift’s “Speak Now” dropped to No. 3 (35,000). Country act Steel Magnolia was the third and final bow in the top 10, as its self-titled set started at No. 7 (28,000).

As for the rest of the top 10, Bruno Mars’ “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” slipped one to No. 4 (32,400), Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday” dropped three to No. 5 (31,900), and the “Country Strong” soundtrack jumped four to No. 6 (29,000).

Rihanna’s “Loud” fell two to No. 8 (28,000), best new artist Grammy nominees Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” slipped one to No. 9 (26,000), and Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” fell three to No. 10 (25,000).

Overall album sales totaled 4.9 million units, down 11% compared with the previous week, and down 15% compared with the comparable sales week of 2010. Year-to-date album sales stand at 10.3 million, an 11% drop compared with the same total at this point last year.