Surprising no one, Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” enters the Billboard 200 album chart at the #1 position. Kanye sells near-Gold in his first week, starting off with 496,000 units sold. Stacked up against his previous releases, “Fantasy” falls right in the middle. It sold more in it’s first week than his debut album “The College Dropout” and his most recent work “808s and Heartbreak”, but falls short of his second and third albums, “Late Registration” and “Graduation”. While it’s entirely possible that Kanye’s antics cost him at the cash register this time, it’s also worth noting that this is the first album Kanye’s released without a single having exploded on pop radio. So it’s very likely that this album sold to Kanye’s diehards and the casual pop fans stayed away.
West is the loudest of the five debuts in the Top 10. He’s followed immediately by Nicki Minaj, whose “Pink Friday” scores the best first week sales on an album by a female rapper EVER (unless you count “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” as a rap album, which I don’t). Nicki starts with 375,000 units. Take THAT, Lil’ Kim! She’s joined in the Top Ten by Justin Bieber’s new acoustic album (#7, 115K in only three days of availability), My Chemical Romance (#8, 112K) and Ne-Yo (#9, also 112K). Those latter two debuts are probably a little disappointing in light of past sales, and while I can’t speak for MCR fans, I can say that the Ne-Yo project was seriously bungled by Def Jam. I would have either put the album out earlier in the fall or kept it for the top of 2011.
Black Friday and a healthy slate of releases definitely helped record sales in a major way. The Top 11 albums sell over 100,000 units, and most albums report large increases over the prior week’s sales.
What else affected sales this week? Amazon’s Black Friday deals certainly helped Pink Floyd’s evergreen “Dark Side of the Moon”, which lands at #69 this week on a 571% increase. Other beneficiaries of Amazon’s super-cheap pricing are Weezer (+419%), Vampire Weekend (+415%), John Mayer’s “Battle Studies” (+373%), and The Roots’ “How I Got Over” (+317%). Smaller increases were shown by artists who performed on the American Music Awards. Katy Perry (also juiced by her new hit “Firework”) scores a 178% increase over her previous week’s sales. She joins Ke$ha, Train and Man of the Hour Justin Bieber, who all see their sales double after appearing on the show.
Next week’s #1 could come from a few different places. Susan Boyle could conceivably jump back into the top spot (it’s kinda hard to picture SuBo jumping into anything). Depending on what their second-week drops are, it’s possible that Kanye can retain his chart-topping spot or that Nicki Minaj can take it from him. I wouldn’t count Taylor Swift out either. One artist that will NOT be appearing in the #1 chart spot will be The Black Eyed Peas. Their new album, “The Beginning”, is scheduled to start with around 110,000-120,000 units. It will certainly put them in the Top 10, probably even in the Top 5, but that number has to be considered something of a disappointment in light of their world-beating success with last year’s “The E.N.D.”
Check out the entire Top 20 after the jump.
1) “My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy” Kanye West
2) “Pink Friday” Nicki Minaj
3) “The Gift” Susan Boyle
4) “Speak Now” Taylor Swift
5) “O Holy Night” Jackie Evancho
6) “Loud” Rihanna
7) “My Worlds Acoustic” Justin Bieber
8) “Danger Days” My Chemical Romance
9) “Libra Scale” Ne-Yo
10) “Christmas Album” Glee Cast
11) “Born Free” Kid Rock
12) “Illuminations” Josh Groban
13) “Nights Like This” Rascal Flatts
14) “Get Closer” Keith Urban
15) “Cannibal” Ke$ha
16) “Teenage Dream” Katy Perry
17) “The Incredible Machine” Sugarland
18) “Burlesque Soundtrack” Various Artists
19) “Glory in the Highest” Chris Tomlin
20) “Now That’s What I Call Music 36” Various Artists