Weekly Album Sales Reach Record Low
Album sales totaled 4.98 million units in the United States for the week ending May 30, the lowest weekly sales total since Soundscan was instituted in 1994, according to Nielsen SoundScan. In comparison, the highest one-week sales total during the Soundscan era is 45.4 million units in December 2000. Though no exact pre-Soundscan figures are available, Billboard estimates the weekly total could be the lowest since the RIAA began compiling data on album shipments in 1973. (6/7)
Strait Named Billboard's Top Country Artist
GRAMMY-winning artist George Strait topped Billboard's list of the top 25 country artists of the past 25 years. GRAMMY-winning artist and this year's GRAMMYs on the Hill Awards recipient Garth Brooks placed second followed by GRAMMY winners Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw. The list was released to coincide with this week's Country Music Summit in Nashville, Tenn., and was compiled using figures from Billboard's Country Albums and Country Songs charts. (6/7)
EMI Closes European Offices
EMI Music Publishing has announced it will close its office in the Netherlands June 30 with the Belgium office set to close June 14. Among the 16 employees exiting the company will be Argen Witte, managing director of the Netherlands branch. Customer relationships, including copyrights and royalties will continue to be handled from the Netherlands office, while all synch deal requests will be handled through the German sales department. The A&R department in the UK and Sweden will handle the interests of Benelux composers. (6/7)
Activision Unveils "Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock"
Activision has announced plans to continue its music video game franchise with the release of "Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock" due out this fall. The company will introduce new elements to the music genre in "Warriors Of Rock" including a story-driven component called Quest Mode, with narration provided by Kiss' Gene Simmons. Activision will also release 90 additional playable tracks including songs from the Cure, the Rolling Stones and Silversun Pickups, and a new plastic guitar controller specifically made for shredding. (6//7)