After last year”s disappointing “Relapse,” Eminem roared back this summer with “Recovery.” The striking album, which has already spawned two No. 1s -”Not Afraid” and “Love the Way You Lie”- keeps gaining momentum. In addition to the commercial success, Eminem received the validation of his peers as he garnered 10 Grammy nominations on Dec. 1, the most of any artist.
1. Eminem (not ranked last week): His year just keeps getting better and better. “Recovery” is the top selling album of the year (so far) and now he”s landed atop all Grammy nominations. We can go ahead and shorten the too long Grammy Awards, slated for Feb. 13 by giving him album, song and record of the year in one fell swoop.
2. Esperanza Spalding (not ranked): Before Wednesday night, no one, except perhaps Barack Obama (who requested she play when he received his Nobel Peace Prize), knew of the jazz bassist/vocalist. After being nominated for a Grammy for best new artist, she”s probably up to 1%. Hey, it”s a start.
3. Kanye West (No. 2): He”s never going to be as phenomenal as he is in his own mind, but West comes damn close with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” The album wins West some of the best reviews of his career and is his fourth to debut atop the Billboard 200, shifting nearly 500,000 copies in its first week. We doubt Taylor Swift was one of those half-million buyers.
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4. Bruno Mars (not ranked): A year ago, Mars was building a reputation as part of the production team, the Smeezingtons. Less than 12 months later, he”s the highest Grammy nominee, second only to Eminem. He”s still so new that he wasn”t eligible for best new artist because his debut album didn”t come out by the Oct. 1 cut off date. Remember where you heard him first because we”re going to be hearing from him for a long time.
5. Barry Weiss (not ranked): The CEO of RCA/Jive Label Group is rumored to be leaving his longtime home -and acts that he helped bring to superstardom like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake – to be Universal Music Group”s No. 2 man in North America.
6. Ryan Seacrest (not ranked): In the continuation of his bid for 24/7 world domination, “American Idol” host Seacrest signs a 3-year/$60 million contract with Clear Channel to remain KIIS-LA”s morning drive dude, as well as host two syndicated shows. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal until it appears that Howard Stern may re-up with Sirius for $600 million for three years. Then Seacrest is just working for chump change.
7. Groupon (No. 4): The daily deal site has reportedly walked away from a takeover offer of more than $5 billion from Google. Take a minute to contemplate that figure for a company that”s only two years old and then realize that Groupon is about to become a major player in the music business. It has already been offering discounted tickets in selected cities for slow-moving concerts. Two weeks ago, Groupon offered its first national music offering with $5 off Rihanna”s new album and it will announce its next discounting CD offer soon.
8. BMG Rights Management (not ranked): The music publishing company purchases Chrysalis, one of the top independent catalogs remaining, with 100,000 songs, including titles from David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Blondie.
9. Limewire (not ranked): The music file-sharing site is going down after a long battle. For the past 10 years, millions of music fans illegally downloaded music from Limewire for free as it kept alive despite the music industry”s best efforts to shut it down. However, a federal judge delivered the fatal blow in October and after vowing to fight and to set up a legal music service, Limewire surrendered this week, announcing it will simply shutter its internet doors by year”s end for good.
10. Billboard (not ranked): The music bible plays catch up to Big Champagne as it bows its “Social 50” chart, which tallies the top artists according to activity on such sites as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter.
Music Power Rankings appears every Friday.
Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter at @MelindaNewman