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Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' headed toward 1 million-plus first week sales, Billboard says [Updated]

Lady Gaga-Josh Olins HBO

Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album appears to be on track for a 1 million-plus first week of sales, according to Billboard, helped along by Amazon.com’s decision to sell the hotly anticipated album for 99 cents for two days last week.

Billboard is projecting first-week sales of 1.15 million copies, which would push it past Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now”  last fall, which became the first album in more than two years to surpass seven-figure sales out of the gate, and the biggest initial week total in more than five years. Swift’s album sold 1,047,000 copies in the U.S. during its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The total for Lady Gaga’s album is expected to be announced Wednesday.

If it logs 1.15 million or higher, it would also surpass rapper 50 Cent's "The Massacre," which tallied 1.14 million in 2005, although the rapper posted that figure in just four days. The first-week sales record remains  with boy band 'N Sync's "No Strings Attached," which posted 2.42 million in 2000.

Retail sources estimated that the Amazon bargain price on Gaga’s album helped account for more than 400,000 copies of “Born This Way” going into consumers’ hands last week.  It had been planned as a one-day event on May 23, the day of release, but demand crashed Amazon’s servers and the online retailer reduced the price again on Thursday as a makeup to those who had unsuccessfully tried to purchase it May 23.

The CD debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. chart on May 29 with first week sales of 215,000 copies, making it the fastest-selling U.K. release so far this year. It was slightly ahead of Adele’s “21,” which logged 208,000 copies upon its U.K. release in February.

Billboard said it would count the deeply discounted Amazon sale figure toward the album’s official first-week total, despite complaints from other retailers that were selling it for more. But Billboard will not include numbers from Best Buy, which used “Born This Way” as a bonus giveaway to customers who purchased smartphones last week.

Updated: An earlier version of this story listed the date "Born This Way" debuted on the U.K. chart as May 23.

RELATED:

Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way': The path to the 99-cent album

Album review: Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way'

Taylor Swift's first-week tally: 1,047,000 for 'Speak Now'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Lady Gaga. Credit: Josh Olins/HBO.

 
Comments () | Archives (27)

The problem is all of the people who would never have considered purchasing Gaga’s album at full price, nor, for that matter, would they have even considered purchasing it if it was being offered at Amazon’s normal Daily Deal rate of $3.99. But at 99 cents–which is practically giving the album away–they grudgingly decided to hit the download button because they realized that as long as there was at least one good song on the album, that one good song would single-handedly pay for the whole rest of the album. How many of the 400,000+ people who bought the album for 99 cents on Amazon fit this description (i.e. those who would ONLY buy the album if it was priced at 99 cents, and nothing more) is impossible to know for certain, but it seems logical to assume that it is a sizeable number, and without them, Gaga would not have reached the 1 million sales mark. All of these people who just downloaded it for the heck of it because they were basically getting it for free, artificially inflated Gaga’s sales numbers, and there is no way that you can deny that. That is why Lady Gaga’s 1 million sales in a week milestone is a hollow victory that will be forever tarnished by the 99 cent pricing.

Seriously who actually brought this album? I don’t see anyone talking about this album. No one talk about the materials of this album itself. It’s about the numbers. One million this and one million that. I think this album is over hyped and its lack luster. The material of the album does not match the hype surrounded by the album.

 
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