Disastrous sales figures for Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga's Born This Way set another record this week, but not one that Gaga's team will be happy about. Sales of the album dropped off by 84% from its sizzling (but discount-inflated) opening week. That's the the steepest drop-off in sales, expressed in a percentage basis, of any of the 17 albums that sold 1 million units in a week in Nielsen SoundScan history.Gaga's album sold 174,000 copies this week, down from 1,108,000 last week, when sales were goosed by a two-day, 99-cent sale at Amazon.
The old record for the steepest drop-off following a million-unit week was held by *NSYNC's 2001 album Celebrity. Sales dropped by 76% in the week following its 1,880,000 debut. Two recent albums were tied for second place in the steepest drop-off column. Sales of Lil Wayne's 2008 hit Tha Carter III and Taylor Swift's 2010 smash Speak Now both dropped off by 69% in the week following their debuts of 1,006,000 and 1,047,000, respectively.
A big drop-off was to be expected. But the fact that Gaga's drop-off was steeper than any of the other follow-ups to albums that had a million-unit week is troublesome. It seems obvious that the opening week tally for Born This Way was generated not only by hard-core fans, but also by casual fans who just didn't want to pass up such a deal. Last week's near giveaway worked in the short term (by giving Gaga the biggest one-week sales total since 2005), but it may have also served to devalue albums in general and Gaga's brand in particular.
Born This Way may not even log a third week at #1. Adele's 21, which is currently 53K copies behind Born This Way, could easily return to the top spot next week.
If you want to know which three albums experienced the mildest drop-offs in the weeks following their million-plus weeks, here you go. Sales of 50 Cent's 2005 album The Massacre slipped by just 32% in the week following its 1,141,000 debut. Sales of Eminem's 2002 album The Eminem Show dropped by 39% in the week following its 1,322,000 debut. Sales of Garth Brooks' 1998 double-disk set Double Live slipped by 40% in the week following its 1,085,000 debut.
Born This Way fell off even more sharply in the digital realm. The album sold 38K digital copies this week, a 94% drop from its record-setting opening week total of 662K. Born This Way isn't even #1 on this week's Digital Albums chart. That honor goes instead to Death Cab for Cutie's Codes And Keys, which sold 59K digital copies (57% of its total).
Born This Way holds at #1 in the U.K. for the second week, but it drops from #1 to #7 in Japan. Gaga's previous full-length, The Fame, logged seven weeks at #1 in the U.K., but didn't reach #1 in Japan.
Adele's 21 rebounds from #3 to #2 on The Billboard 200. The album has ranked in the top three for each of its first 15 weeks. This is the best showing by any album since Alicia Keys' As I Am ranked in the top three for each of its first 15 weeks in 2007-2008. Both albums were powered by songs that had long runs at #1 on the Hot 100. Keys' "No One" logged five weeks on top. I expect Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" to hold the top spot for a fifth week when the chart is released later today.
21 tops the 2 million mark in sales this week. It's the first album to sell 2 million copies in 2011. This is later in the year than we saw the first 2 million-seller of 2010 (Lady Antebellum's Need You Now hit the 2 million mark in the week ending May 9), but it's ahead of the pace for 2009 (Michael Jackson's Number Ones reached the 2 million mark in the week ending Oct. 25.)
Eddie Vedder's Ukulele Songs debuts at #4. It's Vedder's first solo studio album. He reached #11 with the 2007 soundtrack to Into The Wild. All nine of Vedder's studio albums with Pearl Jam have made the top 10. The band's best-seller is its first album, Ten, which has sold 9,869,000 copies.
copies, which allowed it to unseat AC/DC's Live At River Plate, which had topped the chart the last three weeks. Pearl Jam reached #1 on Top Music Videos with Touring Band 2000 (for five weeks in 2001) and Immagine In Cornice/Picture 1 (for one week in 2007).
Lil Wayne's "How To Love" vaults from #52 to #5 in its second week (its first full week) on Hot Digital Songs. The song entered the Hot 100 last week at #69. How high will it climb this week? Check back later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.