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Drake’s First Full Album Sells More Copies Than Eminem And Kanye’s

Drake’s First Full Album Sells More Copies Than Eminem And Kanye’s
Drake's first full-length album, Thank Me Later, enters The Billboard 200 at #1, with first-week sales of 447,000.

This constitutes one of the biggest openings ever for the debut album by a rap artist. It's bigger than Eminem's first week with The Slim Shady LP in February 1999 (283,000). It's even bigger than Kanye West's first week with The College Dropout in February 2004 (441,000). And today's sales climate is less favorable now than it was back then (to put it mildly).

Only three debut albums by rap artists have had had bigger first weeks than Thank Me Later just achieved. 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Tryin' sold 872,000 copies in its first week in February 2003. Snoop Doggy Dogg's Doggystyle sold 803,000 copies in its first week in November 1993. Puff Daddy & the Family's No Way Out sold 561,000 copies its first week in July 1997. (Note: 50 Cent's album was preceded six weeks earlier by an album, Guess Who's Back?, on another label, but it was his official debut, as this is Drake's.)

Drake has 13 songs on this week's Hot Digital Songs chart. That's more than Justin Bieber and the cast of Glee combined. (Those two pop powerhouses were good for four and seven charted songs, respectively, this week.) Eleven of Drake's 13 charted songs are from Thank Me Later.

Thank Me Later rang up the third biggest one-week sales tally of 2010, trailing only Sade's Soldier Of Love (502,000) and Lady Antebellum's Need You Now (481,000). It's the biggest one-week total for a debut album since Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream opened in November with sales of 701,000. It's the biggest one-week total for a rap album since Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 bowed in September with sales of 476,000.

But Drake shouldn't get too comfortable in the top spot. Eminem's Recovery is expected to debut at #1 next week with sales well above 500,000. Drake's album sold almost as many copies in its first week as his EP So Far Gone has sold since its release in September. So Far Gone has sold 485,000 copies.

The music industry has been pushing EPs as a possible way of coping with declining album sales, but the fact that Drake's album sold nearly as many copies in one week as his EP has sold in nine months may give industry gurus pause. Fans seem to view EPs as a nice bonus for hot acts, but not as an album replacement.

For that matter, the fact that 447,000 fans bought Thank Me Later in its first week suggests that the album format isn't as moribund as its detractors have been saying. The music industry is caught between its past and its future and doesn't seem to know how to get across the divide.

Thank Me Later sold 103,000 digital copies. This is the third time in the past four weeks that an album has sold 100K digitally.
Incidentally, Drake and Susan Boyle may well be in competition for Best New Artist when the Grammy nominations are announced later this year. If Drake were to win the award, he would be the first rap artist to win since Arrested Development in February 1993."California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg this week becomes only the second song in digital history to top the 300,000 mark in weekly paid downloads three times.

It follows Flo Rida's "Right Round," which did it four times. "California Gurls" sold 337,000 copies this week, which brings its six-week total to 1,808,000. (After six weeks, "Right Round" had sold 2,251,000 copies.) Both of these songs borrow from old hits. "Right Round" incorporated elements of Dead or Alive's 1985 hit "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)." "California Gurls" borrows the title and fragments of lyric from the Beach Boys' 1965 classic "California Girls."

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' Mojo enters The Billboard 200 at #2. It's the band's highest-charting album since Damn The Torpedoes spent seven weeks at #2 in 1980. The album sold 125,000 copies, which is Petty's best debut sales week since Nielsen/SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Why is the album doing so well? Billboard's Keith Caulfield reports that "a successful concert ticket/album download offer...accounted for a fair amount of the set's first week." That helps explain why the album sold 58,000 digital copies this week.
Petty and his band have been charting for nearly 33 years.

They first made the cover of Rolling Stone in 1980. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. They have achieved just about everything a group can desire except a #1 album. Of course, most acts, given a choice, would rather have longevity than a #1 album. Just ask these groups from the late ‘70s and ‘80s, all of whom had chart-topping albums: The Knack, Men at Work, Quiet Riot, Tears for Fears, Mr. Mister, Fine Young Cannibals and Milli Vanilli.

Mojo is the first album in nearly eight years for Petty and the Heartbreakers. It's the group's eighth top10 album. Petty has had six more top 10 albums away from the band (three solo, two with the Traveling Wilburys and one with Mudcrutch.)Sarah McLachlan's Laws Of Illusion bows at #3. It's her third studio album in a row to debut in the top five. 1997's Surfacing and 2003's Afterglow both bowed at #2. McLachlan also hit the top 10 with a live album (1999's Mirrorball) and a holiday album (2006's Wintersong). (And here we thought Mirror Ball and Winter Song were each two words. We clearly don't have rock star potential.)

NOW 34 enters The Billboard 200 at #4 with first-week sales of 88,000. It's the first regular NOW installment to sell fewer than 100,000 copies in its first week since the very first NOW volume, which sold 48,000 copies in its first week in November 1998. Glee has stolen a lot of NOW's thunder.

Song Scorecard: Lady Gaga this week becomes the first artist in digital history to have three songs top the 4 million mark. "Bad Romance" follows her first two hits, "Just Dance" (featuring Colby O'Donis) and "Poker Face." Two acts, the Black Eyed Peas and Flo Rida, have each had two songs top the 4 million mark.

"Airplanes" by B.o.B featuring Hayley Williams tops the 2 million mark in paid downloads this week. The smash reached the 2 million mark in just 10 weeks, faster than any song since Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" hit the mark in its 10th week in the last tracking week of 2009. B.o.B's previous smash, "Nothin' On You" (featuring Bruno Mars), took 18 weeks to reach the 2 million mark. This is the biggest hit to date for Williams. "Misery Business," her top-selling song with Paramore, has sold 1,920,000 digital copies.

"Airplanes," which holds at #2 on Hot Digital Songs, sold 213,000 copies this week. This is the seventh consecutive week that the song has topped 200K in digital sales. Here's the rest of the top five. "OMG" by Usher featuring will.i.am holds at #3 (196,000), "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars holds at #4 (178,000) and Eminem's "Not Afraid" holds at #5 (152,000).

Friday marks one year since Michael Jackson's sudden death. Jackson has sold 9,023,000 albums since his death, which has bumped him up from #47 to #18 on Nielsen/SoundScan's list of the best-selling artists in its history (which dates to 1991). That's an amazing jump in one year. Tomorrow, I'll have a Chart Watch Extra in which I round up his posthumous chart accomplishments.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Drake, Thank Me Later, 447,000. This new entry is Drake's second top 10 album; his first #1. Eleven of the album's 14 tracks are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Find Your Love," which jumps from #16 to #8.

2. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Mojo, 125,000. This new entry is the group's eighth top 10 album. It's Petty's 14th. The album sold 58,000 digital copies.

3. Sarah McLachlan, Laws Of Illusion, 94,000. This new entry is McLachlan's fifth top 10 album. The album sold 25,000 digital copies.

4. Various Artists, NOW 34, 88,000. This new entry is the first regular NOW installment to sell fewer than 100,000 copies in its first week since the very first NOW volume in 1998.

5. Jack Johnson, To The Sea, 68,000. The former #1 album dips from #4 to #5 in its third week. "You And Your Heart" drops from #119 to #147 on Hot Digital Songs. The song has sold 259,000 digital copies in 11 weeks.

6. Various Artists, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 55,000. The soundtrack drops from #2 to #6 in its second week. It's the week's top movie or TV soundtrack. Look for it to move back up The Billboard 200 after the movie opens on July 30.

7. Justin Bieber, My World 2.0, 47,000. The former #1 album dips from #6 to #7 in its 13th week. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Somebody To Love," which vaults from #54 to #28.

8. Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, 40,000. The former #1 album holds at #8 in its 21st week. It's #1 on the country chart for the 21st straight week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Need You Now" holds at #34. "American Honey" jumps from #80 to #76.

9. Christina Aguilera, Bionic, 40,000. The album drops from #3 to #9 in its second week. (It did worse in the U.K., where it plummeted from #1 to #29.) Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Not Myself Tonight," which drops from #57 to #99.

10. Various Artists, Glee: The Music, Journey To Regionals, 39,000. The former #1 album drops from #1 to #10 its second week. All six tracks from the EP are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by the cast's version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin,'" which drops from #31 to #82.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 on The Billboard 200 this week. Plies' Goon Affiliated drops from #5 to #18, Glee: The Music, Volume 3: Showstoppers drops from #7 to #14, Dierks Bentley's Up On The Ridge drops from #9 to #20, and Lady Gaga's The Fame drops from #10 to #15.

Live At The Troubadour by Carole King and James Taylor rebounds from #13 to #11 this week. The album has sold 267,000 copies in seven weeks. You probably won't be surprised to learn that 89% of those sales have been CDs. The album has sold a little less than 29,000 digital copies.

The success of the album has brought catalog albums by both of these pop legends back on The Billboard 200. Taylor's Greatest Hits, from 1976, jumps from #106 to #96. King's Tapestry, from 1971, drops from #127 to #161. It's that classic album's first time back on The Billboard 200 since the chart opened up to catalog albums in December 2009.Tapestry has logged 304 weeks on the chart, longer than any other album by a female artist in history. Next in line: Enya's Shepherd Moons (238 weeks) and Bonnie Raitt's Nick Of Time (185 weeks).

The Zac Brown Band's The Foundation tops the 2 million mark in sales this week. The album jumps from #14 to #12 in its 83rd week on The Billboard 200. It has been listed in the top 10 on Top Country Albums ever since it debuted in November 2008.

The Gaslight Anthem's American Slang bows at #16, with first-week sales of 27,000. This is the first time the group has sold more than 5,000 copies of an album in any one week...Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers isn't the only band from the 1970s to enter the chart this week. Devo bows at #30 with Something For Everybody. The Steve Miller Band opens at #37 with Bingo!

The Rolling Stones' Exile On Main St. moves up from #33 to #26 in its fifth week. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the fifth straight week...Alas, the Tony Awards had very little impact on sales. The only cast albums on The Billboard 200 this week are for the perennial hits Wicked and Jersey Boys. None of this year's crop made the grade.
Rihanna's 2007 smash "Don't Stop The Music" tops the 3 million mark in paid downloads this week. It's Rihanna's third song as a lead artist to hit 3 million, following "Disturbia" and "Umbrella" (featuring Jay-Z). Rihanna also topped the 3 million mark as a featured artist on T.I.'s "Live Your Life." She is the only artist with a grand total (combining lead and featured roles) of four 3-million sellers.

Two songs top the 1 million mark in digital sales this week: "My Chick Bad" by Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars. This is Ludacris' second million-seller of the year as a lead artist, following "How Low." He has also notched two million-sellers so far this year as a featured artist. This is Mars' second million-seller as a featured artist.
Oasis lands its eighth #1 album in the U.K. with Time Flies 1994-2009. The band has yet to reach the top spot in the U.S. It's highest-charting album on The Billboard 200 is Be Here Now, which debuted and peaked at #2 in 1997. Time Flies enters The Billboard 200 at #131 this week.

Toy Story 3 was #1 at the box-office over the weekend. All three movies in the series have made #1. The original was #1 at the box-office for four weekends in 1995 and wound up as that year's top-grossing hit. Toy Story 2 was #1 for three weekends in 1999 and wound up as that year's #3 hit. Toy Story 3 is the fifth consecutive movie to top the box-office that is either a sequel or a new version of an old movie. It follows A Nightmare On Elm Street, Iron Man 2, Shrek Forever After and The Karate Kid.

Raw Numbers: Three weeks after total weekly album sales dropped below 5 million for the first time in Nielsen/SoundScan history, things are perking up a bit. This week, 6,138,000 albums were sold in the U.S.
Heads Up: Eminem's Recovery won't be the only album to shake up next week's chart. Miley Cyrus, whose last full-length studio album, Breakout, debuted at #1, returns with Can't Be Tamed. It will probably debut at #3, behind Eminem and Drake. Also due: Ozzy Osbourne's Scream, the Roots' How I Got Over, Keith Sweat's Ridin' Solo, Jaron and The Long Road to Love's Getting Dressed In The Dark, Macy Gray's The Sellout, Sia's We Are Born, Cyndi Lauper's Memphis Blues, , Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project and Trip Lee's Between Two Worlds.

The Fine Print: Nielsen/SoundScan "re-processed" last week's charts on Friday, due to some late-arriving sales input. The biggest change was that Lady Gaga's The Fame and Jewel's Sweet And Wild switched places at #10 and #11 on The Billboard 200. Here's a link to a Chart Watch Extra in which I give all the details.

Shameless Plug II: American Top 40 will mark its 40th anniversary over the July 4 weekend. Casey Kasem co-created the legendary countdown and hosted it for a total of 22 years. Next Monday, in Casey's honor, I'll count down the 40 longest-running #1 hits of the past 40 years. I'll also impart some AT40 lore. You won't want to miss this one. In the meantime, you know what to do: Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

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