'Beyonce' Becomes Fastest-Selling Album in iTunes History

Manchester Arena, U.K.
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This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

Beyonce's new self-titled release has become the fastest-selling album ever on iTunes worldwide, with 828,773 albums sold within its first three days. The album also has broken the U.S. iTunes Store's record for the largest sales week for an album.

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According to multiple industry sources, Beyonce sold 617,000 downloads through the close of business on Sunday, Dec. 15. The album bowed -- without any pre-release announcement -- in the iTunes Store at midnight EST on Friday morning, Dec. 13. None of its songs are available a la carte (which likely is helping encourage full album purchases). The 14-song set is selling for $15.99 and additionally comes with 18 videos. Fourteen of those are for each of the album's songs.

Beyonce breaks the previous one-week iTunes record set by Taylor Swift's Red when it sold 465,000 in the week ending Oct. 28, 2012. (The digital version of Red was exclusively sold through iTunes for its first week. It became available to all digital retailers after its first week on sale.)

To note: The music industry tracks weekly sales on a Monday-through-Sunday basis, which is why Beyonce's feat is being measured after only three days on sale. Red had seven days of sales in its first tracking week, as it was released on Monday, Oct. 22.

Beyonce's iTunes launch is also the second-largest digital sales week overall -- counting all digital retailers. It's second behind the debut frame of Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which sold 662,000 downloads in its first week. (That number was enhanced by Amazon MP3's decision to sell the set for 99 cents for two days during its first week. Billboard has estimated that Amazon MP3's 99-cent version resulted in 440,000 copies being sold.)

Beyonce is all but guaranteed a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart this week, giving the diva her fifth consecutive No. 1 (her entire output of albums). The new Billboard 200's No. 1 will be officially announced midweek.

Beyonce also will lock in the largest sales week for Beyonce herself, surpassing her previous high, set when her second album, B'Day, bowed with 541,000 in 2006 (according to Nielsen SoundScan).

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Finally, Beyonce notches the largest sales week of 2013 for a woman, and the biggest since Swift's Red debuted with 1.2 million in October 2012.