West’s album sold just 30K more copies than J. Cole’s sophomore album, Born Sinner, which debuts at #2 this week with first-week sales of 297K. This is West’s narrowest margin of victory to date. It’s the first time he has debuted at #1 with less than a 120K sales lead over #2.
The initial first-week sales projection for Yeezus was 500K, but it was scaled back to about 370K the day after the album went on sale. By Friday, it was scaled back again to about 335K. It came in a little below that.
West’s characteristic bravado helped set up expectations for the album that would be hard to meet. “Man, I'm the Number One living and breathing rock star,” he said in a recent profile with W. (He was explaining how he came to write “I Am A God,” a track on the new album.)
In the W interview, West seems aware of the benefits and costs of his ego. “On one end, I try to scale it back,” he said. “Because I don't want to close any of the doors needed to create the best product possible. But my ego is my drug. My drug is, ‘I'm better than all you other mother*******. Kiss my ***!’”
It wouldn’t be fair to compare West’s first-week sales to those of, say, 2005’s Late Registration or 2007’s Graduation, for two reasons. Veteran artists’ sales tend to taper off over time. And sales are down industry-wide compared to when those albums were released. But it is fair to compare it to West’s recent albums, especially My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was released less than three years ago. Some will argue that West’s relationship with tabloid mainstay Kim Kardashian may have turned off some of his fans. It’s even conceivable that the timing of the birth of their baby North West hurt his sales (since baby news supplanted album headlines in the critical news cycle the week of launch). That, frankly, feels like a reach. It kept West’s name at the forefront, which is usually the objective when you're releasing a major film or album.
Despite the disappointing debut, it would be unfair to paint Yeezus as a stiff. Consider these facts:
The total for Yeezus is the third greatest one-week sales tally so far this year, behind The 20/20 Experience and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (339K).
West’s tally is the greatest for a hip-hop album since Drake’s Take Care bowed with sales of 631K in November 2011.
Only two other hip-hop artists have amassed six or more #1 albums. Jay-Z leads with 12 (counting a 2011 collabo with West). Eminem is tied with West with six #1 albums. Three hip-hop stars trail with five #1 albums each: 2Pac, Nas and DMX. (Nas’ total doesn’t include a 1997 album with The Firm. Each of the four members was identified on the album cover, but their names weren’t part of the artist billing.)
Yeezus sold 186K digital copies which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Cole’s album sold 158K digital copies. This marks the first time in digital history that two albums have each sold 150K digital copies in one week. (Until June 2008, no albums had sold 150K digital copies in one week.)
This week marks the fourth time that West has won a first-week sales battle with another rapper. It also happened in 2005 when Late Registration debuted at #1 and Tony Yayo’s Thoughts Of A Predicate Felon debuted at #2, and, most famously, in 2007 when Graduation debuted at #1 and 50 Cent’s Curtis debuted at #2.
Mac Miller’s sophomore album, Watching Movies With The Sound Off, debuts at #3 with first-week-sales of 102K. This marks the first time since November 2006 that three hip-hop albums have debuted with sales of 100K or more. That Thanksgiving week saw the release of Jay-Z's Kingdom Come (680K), Snoop Dogg's Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (264K) and 2Pac's Pac's Life (159K).
Kelly Rowland’s fourth studio album, Talk A Good Game, debuts at #4. It’s her third top 10 album (not counting four top 10 albums with Destiny’s Child.)
Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, which drops from #3 to #9, becomes the first album to sell 2 million copies in 2013. The album has sold more than twice as many copies as its two chief rivals, Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox (963K copies sold in 2013) and Mumford & Sons’ Babel (873K sold in 2013).
Here’s the low-down on this week’s top 10 albums.
The Top Five: Kanye West’s Yeezus debuts at #1 (327K). It’s his seventh top 10 album…J. Cole’s Born Sinner debuts at #2 (297K). It’s his second top 10 album…Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With The Sound Off debuts at #3 (102K). It’s his second top 10 album…Kelly Rowland’s Talk A Good Game debuts at #4 (68K). It’s her third top solo 10 album…Black Sabbath’s 13 drops from #1 to #5 in its second week (46K).
The Second Five: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories drops from #2 to #6 in its fifth week (40K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Hunter Hayes’ Hunter Hayes vaults from #80 to #7 in its 71st week (40K). This is its first week in the top 10. It’s his first top 10 album… Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s To The Good Times drops from #5 to #8 in its 29th week (33K). This is its fourth week in the top 10…Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience drops from #3 to #9 in its 14th week (32K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time…Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions rebounds from #11 to #10 in its 42nd week (26K). This is its 11th week in the top 10.
Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Big Time Rush’s 24/Seven drops from #4 to #37. Darius Rucker’s True Believers drops from #6 to #13. Blake Shelton’s Based On A True Story… drops from #7 to #12. Goo Goo Dolls’ Magnetic plummets from #8 to #67. The Man Of Steel soundtrack drops from #9 to #29. The Lonely Island’s The Wack Album drops from #10 to #46.
The Great Gatsby: Music From Baz Luhrmann’s Film drops from #24 to #28 in its seventh week. It returns to #1 on Top Soundtracks. It’s been #1 for six of its seven weeks.
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s 2011 compilation Ultimate Hits: Rock And Roll Never Forgets jumps from #38 to #30 in its 61st week on the chart. It’s #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the second week.
Paul McCartney & Wings’ Rockshow is #1 on Top Music Videos for the second week.
Monsters University was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.
Coming Attractions: Wale’s The Gifted is expected to debut at #1 next week with first-week sales in the 140K range. Skillet’s Rise will open at #4 (50K). August Burns Red’s Rescue & Restore will debut around #8 (24K). India.Arie’s Songversation will probably debut around #11 (23K). Also due: Amon Amarth’s Deceiver Of The Gods, Bret Michaels’ Jammin’ With Friends and Jane’s Addiction’s Live In NYC.
Chart Milestone: Black Sabbath’s 13, last week’s #1 album on The Billboard 200, was the 1,000th album to reach #1 since Billboard introduced its now world-famous chart (as a top 10 listing) in March 1945. To mark the occasion, here’s a list of a few “mosts” associated with the chart.
Individual with the most #1 albums: Paul McCartney (26). This grand total consists of 19 Beatles albums, five with Wings and two by himself.
Individual with the most posthumous #1 albums: John Lennon (five). Lennon has topped the chart since his murder in 1980 with Double Fantasy (with Yoko Ono) and four Beatles compilations.
Most #1 albums by a female artist: Barbra Streisand (nine).
Most #1 albums by a duo: Simon & Garfunkel and Sugarland (three each).
Most #1 albums by a country artist: Garth Brooks (eight).
Most #1 albums by a hard rock artist: Led Zeppelin (seven).
Most #1 albums by a teen-aged artist: Justin Bieber (five).
Most #1 albums by an instrumental act: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (five).
Hat tip: Constantine Ananiades.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Kanye West
- Justin Timberlake