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Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ Going Platinum the Cheap Way

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For the price of a McDonald's McChicken sandwich, two copies of this morning's New York Post, or a Mega Millions ticket, you can now purchase a digital copy of Lady Gaga's Born This Way. Talk about depreciating the value of a singer's work of art: On Amazon, Born This Way can be yours for 99 cents. By comparison, purchasing the song "The Edge of Glory" on iTunes for $1.29 is more expensive than buying all of Born This Way on Amazon. The most anticipated album of 2011, and it's available for half the price of Chinese Democracy. Meanwhile, Best Buy is handing out free copies of BTW with all cell phone purchases this week, a move that should boost sales by another 200,000 copies. Buy a Droid, get a Born This Way, even if you're not a Lady Gaga fan. Update: A SoundScan rep tells The Amp that those cell phone freebees won't count toward Gaga's sales figures. 

After months of exhaustive promotion, we understand why it's important for Born This Way to generate some industry-saving sales figures this week, but this is going about it the wrong way. Never mind the fact that Born This Way is arriving on a Monday instead of a Tuesday (when albums are traditionally released) so it can rack up an extra day's worth of sales. This near-giving out of Born This Way to juice its sales is like the record industry's equivalent of human growth hormone; if Gaga does go platinum this week or sets any type of sales record, the corresponding number should be stamped with an asterisk like Barry Bonds' 70th home run ball.

Supposedly, it's Amazon, and not Gaga's label Interscope, who brainstormed this 99-cent deal in order to bring customers to their seldom-used digital music service and lure people away from the dominant iTunes. After the album leaked early last week, maybe they viewed $1 as a way to guilt people who illegally grabbed it to toss a buck in Gaga's pocket for her efforts. Still, it cheapens the accomplishment of selling a million in a week.

A decade ago, artists like 'N Sync, Eminem, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys went platinum in seven days the old-fashioned way: by selling a million albums. More recently, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III and Taylor Swift's Speak Now sold a million copies in their debut weeks, so Gaga probably didn't need to cheat to do the same thing. Pretty soon, Gaga will be thanking her Little Monsters for propelling her new album to monumental sales, but whatever the final tally, it won't impress us much.

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