Christopher Polk/Getty Images for DirecTV
Justin Timberlake had the top-selling CD of 2013, “The 20/20 Experience.”
Perception: Young women rule modern pop — from Beyoncé and Miley to Katy and Rihanna.
Reality: Men trounced women in CD sales this year by such a huge margin that only one female managed any mention in the entire Top Ten. And that sole exception — Beyoncé — only sneaked in during the last three weeks of the year.
Justin Timberlake wracked up the year’s mightiest mover with his initial “The 20/20 Experience” CD, the first of two related sets. It sold 2.43 million copies since coming out in March.
Eminem’s “Marshall Mathers LP 2” came in just below, with sales of 1.73 million, followed by country star Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party,” with 1.52 million banked.
The first female — Lady Bey – doesn’t appear until the eighth position, with the public snapping up 1.3 million copies of her “video album” extravaganza.
The singles chart likewise put men on top. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” — a bachelor party in song – sold more individual tracks then any other cut this year, at 6.5 million. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ranked No. 2 with “Thrift Shop” with 6.1 million sold.
Only one woman made the Top Five – Lorde in fifth place, with 4.42 million copies sold of “Royals.”
This trend isn’t new. In the list of top selling albums of all time, just one female rates in the Top Ten – Shania Twain, at 7, with “Come On Over.”
But why does the gender gap persist? Now more than ever, women receive far more press and TV attention than song-and-dance men.
“Women have many more opportunities to capture the media spotlight,” says Joe Levy, Billboard’s editor in chief. “Bruno Mars is a hitmaker, but Rihanna is a fashion and style icon as well as a hitmaker.
“In brand relationships, women dominate,” Levy adds.
Eminem was at No. 2 on the CD rankings for 2013 with his “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.”
Women also monopolize magazine covers. “There are many more magazines aimed at women than at men and music women do very well for the magazines,” says Claire Connors, who books celebrities for covers of mags that appeal to both females (Shape) and males (Men’s Fitness). “I can’t remember the last time we put a male musician on the cover of Men’s Fitness, (but) we put women on Shape even when they don’t have a new project.”
Pop women can even colonize the covers of men’s publications. “(They) will put women on their covers then they want to bump up sales,” Connors says. “GQ put Beyoncé on the cover to coincide with the Super Bowl.”
Then there are the pervasive gossip outlets. “Celebrity weeklies, celebrity blogs, and entertainment news shows are much more women-centric because their audience is mostly female,” says Jo Piazza, author of “Celebrity Inc.”
“The female audience does want to hear about male celebrities but… through the lens of how they relate to a woman.”
Yet all that coverage comes at a cost. Because people tend to take female musicians less seriously than males, it’s easier to reduce them to gossip items or flighty celebrities.
“(The coverage becomes) all about their personalities and has nothing to do with their music,” Piazza says.
It doesn’t help their cred that women stars feel they must constantly change their look — and in increasingly outrageous ways — to gain an edge over each other. Men, meanwhile, aren’t saddled with such belittling distractions and can thus emphasize pure music in a way that encourages more direct sales.
The very models for fame differ betwen men and women stars.
“It’s the difference between the Madonna model and the U2 or Eagles model,” Levy says. “Florida Georgia Line aspires to be the Eagles of country, and Imagine Dragons want to be as big a band as U2. Part of that dream is not manipulating the media or establishing iconography that changes with the times. Pink, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift use the Madonna model, aspiring to be the queen of all media.”
The result may make women bigger stars, but at the cost of bigger sellers.
Bill Denver For NY Daily News
Drake’s CD was another top seller for 2013.
Top Ten Selling CDs of 2013:
1) Justin Timberlake “The 20/20 Experience,” 2.43 million
2) Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” 1.73
3) Luke Bryan “Crash My Party,” 1.52
4) Imagine Dragons “Night Visions,” 1.41
5) Bruno Mars “Unorthodox Jukebox,” 1.40
6) Florida Georgia Line “Here’s to the Good Times,” 1.35
7) Drake “Nothing Was the Same,” 1.34
8) Beyoncé “Beyoncé,” 1.3
9) Blake Shelton “Based on a True Story,” 1.11
10) Jay Z “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” 1.1