January champions music's underdogs

Hayley Williams, lead vocalist for the band Paramore. Less mainstream bands like Paramore have a better shot at topping the charts in the month of January.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: A funny thing happens to the music charts in early January. A lot of unknown artists shoot to the top, leapfrogging the more popular, mainstream bands. Andrea Gardner explains one reason why.


Andrea Gardner: For weeks, sales have grown for well-known albums like "Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus" and Carrie Underwood's "Carnival Ride." But the latest Billboard chart shows sales for those albums tumbled the week after Christmas. Meanwhile, sales skyrocketed for new artists such as Colbie Calliet, Paramour and Fly Leaf.

Geoff Mayfield from Billboard Magazine says the change is typical for this time of year.

Geoff Mayfield: Once Christmas passes, you have kind of a shifting of the tide. It's gone from being a gift-giving item to kind of an era of discovery. We find each January that there is particularly good chart traction for newcomers and for soundtracks, too.

Kids often exchange the popular albums they receive for new music their parents have probably never heard of. And, of course, they use those gift cards.

In Los Angeles, I'm Andrea Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Andrea Gardner is a journalism professor and writer in Pasadena, Calif.

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