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Music sales defy the crunch

Music sales defy the crunch

Overcoming the fact that - like many of last week's new releases - it isn't available in Woolworths, The Circus by Take That nevertheless scorches to sensational first week sales of 432,490 to earn the Mancunian quartet its fifth number one, while simultaneously eclipsing the band's own previous best first-week sales and setting a new 2008 benchmark.

Selling for as little as £5.88 on CD (Asda) and £3 as a download (Amazon) - both the lowest prices ever for a number one album in those formats - The Circus was released two years to the week after Take That's comeback album Beautiful World, which opened at number one on sales of 168,954.

Beautiful World subsequently sold 443,070 copies on its fourth week in the chart to secure the second highest one week sale by any act in the 21st century, behind the 464,471 copies that Coldplay's X&Y sold on its first week in 2003.

The Circus is now third in that category, and also enjoys the third highest first-week sale ever, behind just that Coldplay album, and Oasis' 1997 release, Be Here Now.

The only other debut in the Top 10 of the artist album chart comes from Britney Spears, whose own Circus pitches tent at number four on sales of 76,231 copies. Her best first-week sale came in 2004, when Greatest Hits: My Prerogative scuttled to number two on sales of 115,341.

The Circus was, of course, the title of an album by Erasure - and so was Pop, which coincidentally is also the name of the debut album by Same Difference, the brother and sister duo who came third in last year's X Factor.

It debuts at number 22 on sales of 31,064 copies. Total sales of X Factor graduates' albums topped the 6m mark last week. Of 26 released prior to Pop, 20 made the Top 75 and 16 charted higher than it.

Meanwhile, last year's X Factor winner Leon Jackson's Right Now holds at number 61 on sales of 10,578, while runner-up Rhydian's self-titled debut is off 3-6 on sales of 63,333, leaving 2006 champion Leona Lewis to claim bragging rights over her peers as her recently overhauled Spirit climbs 4-3 on sales of 95,007.

It does so as one of its newly added tracks, a cover of Snow Patrol's Run, debuts atop the singles chart.

Lewis's ninth Top 75 entry, Run instantly provides her third number one, on sales of 131,593 It doesn't quite match the record for the highest weekly download sale of all - a tally of 139,629 set by her own debut single A Moment Like This in December 2006. Her follow-up to that hit, Bleeding Love, also managed a fine first week download sale of 106,028.

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