Ke$ha's 'Animal' a digital monster
Aided by a hit single and a recession-friendly price, the blunt, urban-flavored electro pop of Ke$ha's "Animal" debuts at No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts, ending the six-week reign of Susan Boyle's comfy traditionals.
Ke$ha has sold 152,000 copies of her debut, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures released by Billboard, with the majority of that tally coming from the digital sector.
Billboard chart sage Keith Caulfield writes that 76% of Ke$ha's sales have been in the form of digital albums, "the largest digital percentage share" for a No. 1 album on the trade publication's charts. It's rare still for the digital share of an album to top 50%, and "Animal" has sold the most single-week downloads since John Mayer's "Battle Studies" tallied 129,000 in November. However Billboard notes that Mayer's figure accounted for only 45% of the singer's overall sales.
Ke$ha's "Animal" carries with it a price fit for impulse purchases. Though her party single "TiK ToK" has been a smashing success, RCA still faces the challenge of transitioning the pop singer from a singles artist to one with a long-term sales impact.
Fans at least appeared willing to spring for the full set in the first week. With a price of $6.99 at both iTunes and Amazon, the full-length was an easy digital up-sell, especially with Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" and "Blah Blah Blah" each carrying a single price of $1.29.
At this early stage, however, album sales aren't the full evaluator of Ke$ha's success. "TiK ToK" sold an additional 206,000 downloads this week, a cut that set a record for the most-ever single-week download sales by a female artist a couple weeks ago when it sold 610,000. This week, Billboard notes that cumulatively, Ke$ha's singles have sold 694,000 downloads.
With the holidays over, expect sales of Boyle's warm pop arrangements to start to dip. This week, her "I Dreamed a Dream" falls to No. 2, moving a still impressive 93,000 copies.
January is typically a slow month for music sales, and Billboard is predicting that Vampire Weekend's "Contra" could bow at No. 1 next week, with just 75,000 copies sold, which foretells a massive second-week for Ke$ha's "Animal."
-- Todd Martens