If iTunes is the barometer for how music is selling in America, we might as well just give Kanye his first place trophy. Impressively, West somehow placed four different iterations of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" in the iTunes' Top 50 album chart: The explicit version's regular and deluxe editions at Number One and Number Two, the clean version's deluxe edition at Number 16 and the standard one at Number 47. Only the new-to-iTunes Beatles have more albums in the Top 50. Minaj's "Pink Friday" comes in at Number Three and Number Nine with the deluxe and regular explicit versions of her debut album, respectively.
Two more major November 22nd releases stand at Number Four and Five on iTunes -- Ke$ha's "Cannibal" and My Chemical Romance's "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys." Ne-Yo's "Libra Scale" hangs back at Number 12, and Jay-Z's best-of comp "The Hits Collection Vol. One" is barely making a dent at Number 56. The biggest surprise: The reissue of Nine Inch Nails' "Pretty Hate Machine" currently stands at Number 33, beating out new releases by Lloyd Banks, Robyn and Jessica Simpson.
On Amazon, things are a bit more skewed, thanks to their dynamic and potentially lethal $3.99 pricing scheme. Kanye, My Chemical Romance, Ne-Yo and Robyn are all selling for a $3.99 digital price tag, and all four are in the Top 10: West at Number One, MCR at Number Two, Ne-Yo at Number Four and Robyn at Number Eight (the low prices must be drawing fans because Robyn only peaks at 40 on iTunes). Where is Nicki Minaj and "Pink Friday" on Amazon, where her album is priced for $11.99 (same cost as iTunes)? Number 21! That's (amazingly) below Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits," a nearly 35-year-old collection that's currently Number 12 on Amazon thanks to its $1.99 price tag.
It's exceedingly clear that bargain hunters shop at the Amazon MP3 store, as evidenced by the massive disparity in Minaj sales despite "Pink Friday" having the same price tag on both Amazon and iTunes. (Note: Amazon's $11.99 version of the album has three more tracks than its $4.99 one.) Meanwhile, while Jay-Z's "Hits Collection" doesn't crack the Amazon Top 100, Jigga can sleep well tonight knowing his new book "Decoded" is currently Number Six on Amazon's bestsellers list, where Jay is beating Keith Richards' "Life," but trailing George W. Bush's "Decision Points."
Prediction time! Based on the sales information 24 hours after the big November 22nd release bonanza, it's pretty safe to assume that Kanye will coast to the Number One spot on next week's charts, and that the only question remaining is whether he outsells the 1.04 million copies Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" moved in its first week on shelves, the best opening-week total of 2010. The race for Number Two will come down to My Chemical Romance and Nicki Minaj, and as the past few years have proven that hip-hop fans are more likely to come out and support their artist than rock fans, we'll give Minaj the edge for the silver medal. Ke$ha will likely finish Top Five, along with Rihanna's "Loud." Ne-Yo will probably fall into the Top 10, and Jay-Z's superfluous "Hits" album might crack the Top 50. But the biggest winner, obviously, is the music industry.