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Kanye, Jay-Z coast to top of chart on digital sales of 'Throne'

August 17, 2011 |  1:07 pm

Kanye West and Jay-Z have a No. 1 album in "Watch the Throne"

The economic hard times haven't hit Kanye West and Jay-Z, as the pair's paens to living the upper-class life that is "Watch the Throne" debuted atop the U.S. pop charts, with much of its purchases coming from an iTunes-only exclusive sale. The album sold 436,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, with 321,000 of those in the form of digital downloads. 

What makes that number, perhaps, even more impressive is the fact that "Watch the Throne" carried a premium price tag. Apple's digital store, which began selling the album on Aug. 9 sold the standard edition for $11.99 and slapped a $14.99 price tag on the deluxe edition, far above the typical $9.99 digital price.

Yet fans weren't turned off by this celebration of excess and wealth, as"Watch the Throne" owns the second-largest opening sales week of 2011. Only Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," which topped 1 million copies sold when it debuted, had a better initial showing. SoundScan declines to break out sales by retailer, but it's no secret that the majority of "Watch the Throne" sales were courtesy of iTunes, as no other retailer was granted approval to sell the album until Friday, and the sales week ends on Sunday. 

Other notes from this week's chart:


The latest from country boy next door Luke Bryan, "Tailgates & Tanlines," is a distant second, selling 146,000 copies in its debut week. Bryan is one of three country artists dotting the top 10, as releases from Eric Church and Jason Aldean continue to perform well. Church's former No. 1 album "Chief" is at No. 5, having sold 37,000 copies this week for a total of 235,000 albums sold, while Aldean's 2010 effort "My Kinda Party" is close behind at No. 6, adding an extra 36,000 copies to its 1.7 million. 

Florida metal act Trivum lands at No. 13 with "In Waves." It's the act's fifth album, and it sold 22,000 in its debut week. The album is No. 1 on Billboard Magazine's rock albums chart. 

Locals Foster the People aren't slowing down. The act's "Torches" sees a 23% sales bump following its Lollapalooza performance, which was broadcast live on YouTube. At No. 15, "Torches" sold just under 21,000 copies, and has now sold a total of 176,000 copies. Hit single "Pumped Up Kicks" is at No. 3 on the digital tracks chart, and has sold slightly more than 1 million downloads. 

Maroon 5's collaboration with Christina Aguilera, "Moves Like Jagger," a song that also serves as an advertisement for NBC's "The Voice," is the top-selling digital single in the U.S. The cut, for which a video was released last week, sold 219,000 downloads, giving it a total of 902,000 downloads sold. Aguilera and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine are judges on competition show "The Voice."


Foster the People tackles Neil Young at Lollapalooza

Album review: Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'Watch the Throne'

Downloads count as votes on 'The Voice'; two songs land on iTunes chart

-- Todd Martens

Image: Kanye West and Jay-Z in 2010. Credit: Associated Press