YouTube wedding video sends Chris Brown to charts

Singer Chris Brown sits courtside during Game 5 of their NBA Finals basketball series between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers in Orlando, Florida, June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - In the same week that Chris Brown went to YouTube to apologize for assaulting former girlfriend Rihanna, a viral videoclip of a wedding party dancing down the aisle to Brown’s song “Forever” returned him to the charts.

The uptempo tune sold 50,000 downloads during the week ended July 26, up a hefty 1,721% from the previous week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It thusly re-enters the Hot Digital Songs chart at No. 21, its first time on the list since January. It’s also the best sales week for any of Brown’s songs since Christmas week of 2008, when “Forever” sold 77,000 downloads.

On July 20, Brown went to his official YouTube channel to issue a video statement about the incident with Rihanna. It has been watched 2.4 million times. Coincidentally, newlyweds Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson posted the videoclip of their boogying wedding party on YouTube a day earlier. By midday Thursday it was already the site’s most-viewed clip of the month, with 12.1 million views.

The happy couple were interviewed July 24 on NBC’s “Today” and the wedding party performed its dance routine on the morning show the following day.

Perhaps the beleaguered Brown’s return to the charts means that the buying public was able to separate the artist from the art and simply focus on the exuberant tune itself. Or maybe some consumers were simply unaware that Brown was the vocalist or of his recent troubles. Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that the dancing wedding party clip has given Brown more positive publicity than anything else since the February altercation -- and it couldn’t have been better timed.

(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)