Sales Wrap Gaga Style

Lady Gaga leaves the industry wide eyed, open mouthed and smiling as she deftly scoops first week sales of Born this Way totaling 1.108 million. In the process her album becomes the 17th to break the one-million-in-one-week mark since the start of the SoundScan era in 1991. Nashvillians will recall that No. 16 on that list was Taylor Swift who splashed onto the scoreboard with 1.05 million units last year. Gaga also stormed the digital singles chart with four tracks selling over 30k each. Her song “Edge Of Glory” downloaded 164k for the week.

There’s also news on the country chart, but before we shift gears let’s note a few things. First an amazing 60% of the Gaga album sales were in digital form, about 660k units. Of those, unconfirmed reports estimate about 450k were sold at Amazon for 99¢, without which the album would never have broken the one million barrier. The bargain sale price meant that Amazon took a loss on the sales—not the record label—but one can certainly debate what this gambit will do to the price/value of music in the consumer’s mind, going forward??

A Paisley Design
Brad Paisley took top country positioning this week as his new album This Is Country Music rides atop the Current Country sales chart with first week totals of about 153k. Compilation debuts from Idol’s Scotty McCreery (No. 3; 23k) and Lauren Alaina (No. 9; 10.5k) also landed inside the country Top 10. On the country tracks chart McCreery and Alaina ruled the top two spots with “I Love You This Big” downloading over 170k units and “Like My Mother Does” churning over 120k.

Debuts from Warner’s Frankie Ballard (No. 33; 2,700) and Show Dog’s Carter’s Chord (No. 48; 1,700) also entered the chart. (Even with Top 75 country sales up 71% this week vs. last week (475k total) it only took 716 units to earn a spot on the list.)

The Big Picture—Albums
All genre album sales YTD are now up .4%. Not a huge uptick, but how long has it been since we were able to report any uptick in this category? Country album sales YTD remain in negative territory, -5.3%, but they have been improving of late.

The Big Picture—Tracks
Track sales are showing 10% YTD gains as we complete the first five months of 2011 with sales of about 536 million. Country track sales account for about 57 million or 10.6% of that track sales total.

Coming Soon
Upcoming country album projects can be found here. Potential future standouts with respect to sales include Ronnie Dunn (June 7), Blake Shelton (July 12) and Chris Young (July 12).

A Penny For Your Thoughts?
What about pricing albums for 99¢? What does that mean for this industry going forward? Comment below.



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Category: Featured, Label, Sales/Marketing

About the Author

David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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