These two albums have something in common besides their blockbuster first weeks. Both albums were made available for free streaming on iTunes for a week prior to being released commercially. The idea behind this strategy is that the buzz and word-of-mouth created during the free streaming period offsets the lost sales. And it seems to be working. Billboard’s Alex Phem reports that more than 30 other artists have participated in Apple’s promotional program since it began in August 2011 with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ I’m With You. Other outlets have gotten in on the action, including YouTube, Spotify and Pandora.
Random Access Memories is the first dance/electronic album to reach #1 since Madonna’s MDNA debuted at #1 in April 2012.
Random Access Memories sold nearly three times as many copies this week as Daft Punk’s previous studio album, 2005’s Human After All, has sold in its entire run (127K). That album was a dud for the duo. Its first two studio albums both sold better. Homework has sold 674K copies since its release in 1997. Discovery has sold 802K since its release in 2001. Discovery rebounds from #104 to #59 on The Billboard 200 this week. (It peaked at #44 when it was first released.) The album jumps to #1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing George Jones’ Super Hits.
Random Access Memories sold 221K digital copies and enters Top Digital Albums at #1. TRON: Legacy headed the digital sales chart for three weeks in late 2010 and early 2011.
Random Access Memories also enters The Official U.K. chart at #1. It’s Daft Punk’s first #1 in that country. Discovery reached #2 in 2001. Random Access Memories sold 165K copies in the U.K., which is the biggest one-week tally so far this year. It tops Michael Buble’s To Be Loved, which sold 121K in its first week last month. (Bear in mind, the U.K. has a population of 63 million, which is about one-fifth of the population of the U.S.—314 million.)
Daft Punk won a pair of Grammys for 2008 for Best Dance Recording (“Harder Better Faster Stronger”) and Best Electronic/Dance Album (Alive 2007). They’re likely to be front-runners in the same two categories in January for “Get Lucky” and Random Access Memories, respectively. They’d be only the second act, following Skrillex, to win twice in both categories.
Random Access Memories is also likely to be nominated for Album of the Year. It may give Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience a run for its money in that category. Taylor Swift’s Red is also a strong contender.
This is Rucker’s second album in a row to debut at #2. Charleston, SC 1966 also opened in the runner-up slot.
This is Rucker’s fourth solo album. His first, Back To Then, peaked at #127 in 2002. That was in the lull between the end of his Hootie run and his emergence as a country star in 2008.
French Montana’s debut album, Excuse My French, opens at #4. The 28-year old rapper was born in Morocco. The album features both of his Hot 100 hits as a lead artist: “Pop That” (featuring Rick Ross, Drake and Lil Wayne) and “Freaks” (featuring Nicki Minaj). “Pop That” reached #36 in 2012. “Freaks” hit #77 this year.
Thirty Seconds To Mars’ fourth studio album, Love Lust Faith + Dreams, debuts at #6. It’s the band’s first top 10 album. Each of the band’s studio albums has charted higher than the one before it. It’s first album, 30 Seconds To Mars, reached #107 in 2002. Its second, A Beautiful Lie, hit #36 in 2005. Its third, This Is War, which reached #18 in 2009.
Here’s the low-down on this week’s top 10 albums.
The Top Five: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories debuts at #1 (339K). It’s the duo’s second top five album…Darius Rucker’s True Believers debuts at #2 (83K). It’s Rucker’s third top five album as a solo artist…The National’s Trouble Will Find Me debuts at #3 (75K). It’s the group’s second top five album…French Montana’s Excuse My French debuts at #4 (56K). It’s the rapper’s first top five album…Music From Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby dips from #4 to #5 in its third week (54K). It has ranked in the top five the entire time.
The Second Five: Thirty Seconds To Mars’ Love Lust Faith + Dreams debuts at #6 (53K). It’s the band’s first top 10 album…Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires Of The City drops from #1 to #7 in its second week (48K)…George Strait’s Love Is Everything drops from #2 to #8 in its second week (43K)… Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience drops from #7 to #9 in its 10th week (42K). It has ranked in the top 10 the entire time…Lady Antebellum’s Golden drops from #5 to #10 in its third week (34K). It has ranked in the top 10 the entire time.
Five albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Demi Lovato’s Demi drops from #3 to #14. Now 46 drops from #6 to #11. Michael Buble’s To Be Loved drops from #8 to #12. Pistol Annies’ Annie Up drops from #9 to #22…Blake Shelton’s Based On A True Story… drops from #10 to #16.
The Fast & Furious 6 soundtrack debuts at #32. This is the highest-charting soundtrack from a Fast & Furious movie since 2 Fast 2 Furious reached #5 in June 2003. That was the second movie in the series. The first, 2001’s The Fast And The Furious, also spawned a top 10 soundtrack. Fast & Furious 6 was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. “We Own It” by 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa is the breakout single from the album. It enters Hot Digital Songs at #19.
Coming Attractions: Look for Alice in Chains’ The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here to debut at #2 next week, with first-week sales in the 60K range. (Daft Punk will likely remain at #1.) Little Mix’s DNA and John Fogerty’s Wrote A Song For Everyone will battle for #3, each with sales in the 45K range. Likely to open below the top 10: Paul McCartney’s Wings Over America 2 (19K), The-Dream’s IV Play (18K), Kid Ink’s Almost Home EP (11K) and the Kinky Boots original cast album.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Daft Punk
- Random Access Memories
- Darius Rucker
- Justin Timberlake