Does nearly a half-million copies sold constitute the glass being half-full or half-empty? That’s the question with Jay-Z and Kanye West’s enormously ballyhooed joint project, ”Watch the Throne,” which debuted with first-week sales of 436,000, a strong but less-kingly-than-expected tally.
But the news was much better for Katy Perry: She finally assumed a throne she’s had her eye on for a while
The take for “Watch the Throne” will be spun in different ways, taking into account the peculiarities of its release. For the first four days of the week, the Jay-Z/West album was an iTunes exclusive, so you could argue a mere three days of brick-and-mortar sales isn’t enough to tell the tale.
On the other hand, because of the unusual lack of advance leaks, anticipation for the project should have been at enough of a fever pitch to make for a day-one blockbuster.
But even strong reviews and word-of-mouth didn't add up to “Throne” debuting as mightily as either of the rappers’ most recent solo efforts.
The New York Post reported that Jay-Z spent $95,000 on a single bottle of champagne at a Miami party celebrating the album's launch last week. Until next week's results offer a better picture of the album's legs, he may want to switch to sparkling cider for a few days.
As for Perry, her “TGIF (Last Friday Night)” song finally hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100, marking the first time a female artist has had five singles from one album reach that mark. Leaving gender out of it, she’s now tied with Michael Jackson, whose “Bad” album generated five No. 1 hits back in the day.
It had seemed like Perry had missed her chance at being able to thank God for a fifth chart-topper, since “TGIF” was showing signs of fading last week. But her label, Capitol, had some tricks up its sleeve, goosing the tune by releasing a Missy Elliott-helmed remix, sales of which were counted together with the old version.
iTunes also put the different versions of the song on sale for 69 cents. It also so happened that the previous long-time No. 1, LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” finally shed a little momentum at an opportune moment for Perry.
Decamping far away from any kind of throne room was the soundtrack to “Glee 3D,” which entered the album chart at No. 16 with a shockingly modest 20,000 copies. All eight previous full-length “Glee” TV soundtracks had entered in the top 5, and three of them bowed at No. 1 (including last year’s “Journey to Finals” disc, which had first-week sales of 152,000, more than seven times as many as this one managed). Maybe Sue Sylvester’s warning in the trailer was taken literally by music consumers as well as moviegoers.
Luke Bryan has plenty to be gleeful about, coming in at No. 2 with his sophomore album, “Tailgates & Tanlines." Bryan's is the second-best country bow of 2011, trailing only Brad Paisley’s. He sold 145,295 copies, beating the opening tally for Eric Church three weeks ago by just 300 units.
Country men are well represented on the album chart right now, claiming six of the top 20 spots. Church moved down three positions to No. 5, still ahead of Jason Aldean at No.6, Blake Shelton at No. 14, the Zac Brown Band at No. 19, and Trace Adkins, who took a 17-spot tumble to No. 20 in his second week.
Putting the lie to the idea that 45 milion viral-video views are a predictor of album sales, 13-year-old web phenom Greyson Chance fell to No. 65 in his second frame, selling 7,000 of his Ellen DeGeneres-mentored album for a two-week total of 21,000.
Although Perry rules the roost on this week’s Billboard 100 song chart, “TGIF” didn’t top the digital singles sales chart. That honor belonged to the Maroon 5/Christina Aguilera collaboration “Moves Like Jagger,” which picked up plenty of steam from finally having a video released. It sold 219,000 downloads, generating the kind of upward chart movement even Jagger could envy.