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

May 30, 2011 | 12:27 pm

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.


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.