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On the charts: Drake proves to be no Lady Antebellum, and a concert promo adds a spring to Petty's 'Mojo'

June 23, 2010 | 12:03 pm


Canadian soap opera-star-turned rapper Drake titled his 2009 debut EP "So Far Gone." He's proving to be anything but, as the young star's full-length entrée "Thank Me Later" entered the U.S. pop chart at No. 1, tallying first-week sales of 447,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

That number is good enough to give Drake 2010's third-highest debut, placing him behind first-week totals from the likes of Sade and Lady Antebellum. Sade's "Soldier of Love" moved 502,000 copies in its first week, and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" posted an initial showing of 481,000 copies. 

There was some speculation by the media that Drake would have a massive, Lil Wayne-type debut, including a leading MTV headline that proclaimed Drake could sell 1 million. Yet Drake's total still builds mightily on last year's "So Far Gone," which entered at No. 6 with 73,000 copies sold. To date, the latter has moved 485,000 copies, and it rests this week at No. 7.

Entering at No 2 is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Mojo," which received a heavy boost from a ticket promotion. Those who purchased tickets to Petty's summer tour were offered a chance to download the artist's first album with the Heartbreakers since 2002's "The Last DJ," and it helped give "Mojo" a solid first week of 125,000 copies sold.

Downloading the album was a relatively easy process, as ticket buyers were guided via e-mail to a website to redeem the album on its day of release."We've gone back and forth on various scenarios," said Billboard's director of charts Silvio Pietroluongo about the decision to include the concert-related downloads in the first week sales tally."In the move to digital, we've OK'd a bundle where you receive a redemption code, so the consumer still has to make an active decision and download it ... You'd be surprised at what the redemption percentage was, and this one was very high."

Pietroluongo said the trade cannot disclose how many concert buyers downloaded the album but noted that "Mojo" sold 60,000 digital downloads. That number includes those who acquired "Mojo" via the ticket promotion yet also ropes in figures from major online outlets such as Apple's iTunes store and Amazon.com. For some perspective on just how much of a bump Petty received by including the album with ticket buys, his 2002 Heartbreakers effort "The Last DJ" sold a much smaller 74,000 copies in its first week. 

Behind Petty at No. 3 is the latest from Sarah McLachlan. Her "Laws of Illusion," the artist's first collection of original material since 2003's "Afterglow," sold 94,000 copies. Since "Afterglow," the artist has released a string of compilations and a Christmas-themed title, and the Billboard archives report that "Afterglow" bowed at No. 2 with an impressive 361,000 copies.

Also debuting strong this week is the latest from New Jersey's rootsy punk rockers the Gaslight Anthem with "American Slang," released on local label SideOneDummyRecords. The album entered the chart at No. 16 with 27,000 copies. Further down, Devo's "Something for Everybody" landed at No. 30 with 14,000 copies sold. 

Overall album sales are down about 9% from the same period last year, according to Billboard. The media's eyes will be on Miley Cyrus over the next seven days, as her bid for adultdom with "Can't Be Tamed" will debut on next week's tally. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Drake. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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