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Did U2's 'Horizon' sales disappoint?

March 11, 2009 |  5:55 pm

First-week sales of U2’s “No Line on the Horizon” brought the superstar rock band back down to Earth. The album, given the band's stature and sales history, was essentially preordained to debut atop the U.S. pop charts when it was announced last year. The only question was how many it would sell.

The Interscope album sold a brisk 484,000 copies in the U.S., according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the biggest first-week tally since Britney Spears’ “Circus” sold 505,000 copies during the holiday season last year.

But the number everyone will talk about is 840,000. That’s what U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” sold when it debuted at No. 1 in 2004. Another recent barometer, the U2-influenced band Coldplay's album "Viva la Vida," sold more than 700,000 units when it was released last year.

Though the 356,000-unit sales gap can certainly be attributed to year after year of double-digit declines in album sales, a closer look at U2’s recent sales stats suggests that “Atomic Bomb” was a bit of an aberration in the career of the Irish superstars.

Read the full story on Company Town.