Pop star Lady Gaga leads this week’s Billboard album chart with her new album, Born This Way. It moves a jaw dropping 1.1 million units in it’s first week. It’s the biggest first week for any album since 50 Cent’s The Massacre dropped in 2005, and it’s the biggest first week for a female artist ever.
Of course, Gaga’s achievement will come with an asterisk, as well over 400,000 copies of that were purchased from amazon.com during a promotion on which the shopping site offered an MP3 download of Born This Way for 99 cents. That leads to all sort of questions about the validity of the eventual first week number and how it compares to previous million-selling weeks (all of which were achieved without the benefit of deep discounting at an online retailer). Look-for shits and grins, let’s say that had the 99 cent promotion not happened, Amazon would have sold half of what they did. That still eans that Born This Way would have started with a first week number in the 900,000 range-a very impressive achievement in any era. Let’s remember this: in the twenty years since Soundscan started being used as a tool to accurately capture music sales, only SEVENTEEN albums have hit the million mark in their first week. Take out the teen-pop boom of the early ’00s (NSync, Backstreet Boys & Britney), and that number drops down to twelve. That’s pretty rarified air no matter what. So congrats to Gaga.
Elsewhere on the chart, Brad Paisley scores his third #2 album with This is Country Music. The latest effort from the hat-wearing West Virginia scores a healthy 153,000 copies, obviously dwarfed by Gaga’s total. You think Paisley’s record company ever thought to move his album release up a week? It would’ve given Brad his first ever chart topper.
Eight new albums find their way into the Top 20 this week. In addition to Gaga and Paisley, the chart’s upper echelon welcomes yet another “Glee” compilation album (#4), a comp from Rick Ross’s Maybach Music (#5), the supergroup summit NKOTBSB (#7), indie darlings Foster the People (#8), “American Idol” champ Scotty McCreery (#12) and classic rock kings Journey (#13).
McCreery also finds himself with the highest new entry on the digital singles chart. “I Love You This Big” starts with 171,000 paid downloads, landing at #3 behind Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” (damn, Pitbull is one of those guys that will sell the shit out of a single, but when his albums come out, everyone leaves the record store). Runner-up Lauren Alaina starts at #11 with “Like My Mother Does”, and the footprints of “American Idol”‘s season finale are all over this chart. Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” (which she performed on the show) reverses course and lands at #4 (jumping 10 spots from last week’s position), and Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” rebounds 44-19, thanks to not only her “Idol” performance but also a showstopping performance on the Billboard Music Awards a few days before. In other Destiny’s Child news, it’s worth noting that Beyonce’s former bandmate Kelly Rowland just landed her first #1 single (as a lead artist) on the R&B charts with her current single “Motivation”.
Next week, Gaga will hold on to the top spot, although without the benefit of that pricing, that number will drop sharply. She will most likely be followed by either the resilient Adele or Death Cab for Cutie, whose Codes & Keys is on pace to scan about 100,000 copies.
This week’s Top 20 albums after the jump
Top 20 Albums:
1) Born This Way | Lady Gaga
2) This is Country Music | Brad Paisley
3) 21 | Adele
4) Glee: The Music, Vol. 6 | Glee Cast
5) Maybach Music Presents: Self-Made Vol. 1 | Various Artists
6) Now That’s What I Call Music 38 | Various Artists
7) NKOTBSB | NKOTBSB
8) Torches | Foster the People
9) My Kinda Party | Jason Aldean
10) Sigh No More | Mumford & Sons
11) Holding On to Strings Better Left to Fray | Seether
12) American Idol Season 10: Scotty McCreery | Scotty McCreery
13) Eclipse | Journey
14) Hot Sauce Committee Vol. 2 | Beastie Boys
15) Il Volo | Il Volo
16) The Fame | Lady GaGa
17) Lemonade Mouth Soundtrack | Various Artists
18) Love? | Jennifer Lopez
19) Teenage Dream | Katy Perry
20) Doo-Wops & Hooligans | Bruno Mars