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Madonna's 'MDNA' Officially Posts Biggest Album Sales Drop of All Time

Madonna MDNA Cover - P 2012

The percentage dip surpasses the record set by Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", when it fell 84.27% in its second week.

This week, Madonna's MDNA earns the distinction of the largest second-week percentage sales drop for a No. 1-debuting album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. The album slides from No. 1 to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with a 86.7% sales decline (falling from 359,000 to 48,000 according to SoundScan).

The percentage dip surpasses the record set by Lady Gaga's Born This Way, when it fell 84.27% in its second week on the chart dated June 18, 2011. Born This Way bowed the previous frame at No. 1 with 1.11 million, and then sold 174,000 in its second week at the top of the chart. Born This Way's debut was amplified by Amazon MP3's decision to offer the set at 99 cents twice on two separate days during its premiere week.

MDNA's large fall was expected, as its debut was bolstered by sales gained from a concert ticket/album promotion as well as preorders from iTunes. Further, without a current hit single on our major airplay charts nor any substantial recent promotion on Madonna's part, the drop was bound to be significant.

Both MDNA and Born This Way would have not had such steep drops, had it not been for unusually enhanced first-week sales.

While MDNA has the biggest drop for a No. 1-debuting set in SoundScan history, it's actually the second-biggest fall for a top 10-bowing album. The largest second-week collapse for a top 10-debut was for the rock compilation titled The Edge on April 10, 2010. It sold 53,000 when it bowed at No. 4 and then fell by 87.2% to 7,000 (No. 81) in its second week. The Razor & Tie compilation saw its sizable first week sales generated by a direct-response TV ad campaign and preorders.

Most superstar albums that start at or near the top of the chart fall by 60% to 80% in their second week. And, high-debuting sets that are especially front-loaded by pre-orders, niche fanbases or unusual marketing campaigns take harder hits.

MDNA's lead single "Give Me All Your Luvin'" (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.) peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- thanks to strong initial sales. However, on the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart -- the diva's home radio format -- the single faltered at No. 24 and spent only five weeks on the list. The album's second single, "Girl Gone Wild," has yet to dent the Mainstream Top 40 tally.

In terms of recent promotion, Madonna has basically been off the radar, instead focusing her energy on rehearsals for her upcoming world tour. Since headlining the Feb. 5 Super Bowl halftime show, her only significant recent media appearances have been via a live Facebook chat with Jimmy Fallon (March 24) and a brief drop-in at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami the same night.     

Guy Oseary, Madonna's manager, tweeted in response to a fan's question last night, saying ". . . I wish we could have done TV last week but we were in rehearsals morning and night. 7 more weeks to show time . . . "

Here are the five largest second-week percentage drops for No. 1-debuting albums in the SoundScan era:     

Chart Date - Artist - Title - % Decline - Debut Units - 2nd Week Units

April 21, 2012 - Madonna, MDNA - 86.70% (from 359,000 to 48,000 at No. 8)

June 18, 2011 - Lady Gaga, Born This Way - 84.28% (from 1.11 million to 174,000 at No. 1)

Dec. 3, 2011 - Mac Miller, Blue Slide Park - 82.54% (from 144,000 to 25,000 at No. 24)

Dec. 16, 2006 - Jay-Z, Kingdom Come - 79.42% (from 680,000 to 140,000 at No. 6)

Dec. 11, 2010 - Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - 78.14% (from 496,000 to 108,000 at No. 7)     

And, the five largest second-week percentage drops for top 10-debuting albums in the SoundScan era:     

Chart Date - Artist, Title - % Decline - Debut Units - 2nd Week Units

April 3, 2010 - Various Artists, The Edge - 87.19% (from 53,000 at No. 4 to 7,000 at No. 81)

April 21, 2012 - Madonna, MDNA - 86.70% (from 359,000 to 48,000 at No. 8)

June 18, 2011 - Lady Gaga, Born This Way - 84.28% (from 1.11 million to 174,000 at No. 1)

March 24, 2012 - WZRD, WZRD - 84.25% (from 70,000 at No. 3 to 10,000 at No. 34)

March 31, 2012 - Passion, Passion: White Flag - 83.71% (from 49,000 at No. 5 to 8,000 at No. 51)