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While Wale claims his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart this week, as The Gifted debuts with 158,000 copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan, last week’s No. 1, Kanye West‘s Yeezus, falls by 80% to No. 3 — the largest second-week percentage drop for a No. 1-debuting album in over a year. It sold 65,000 in its sophomore frame. A week ago it bowed with 327,000.
Comparatively, the average second-week drop for a No. 1-debuting album in 2013 is 69%. (West’s last solo album, 2010’s No. 1-bowing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, slid by 78% in its second week.)
No. 1 debuts that were particularly front-loaded in their first sales week this year were Yeezus, Justin Bieber‘s Believe: Acoustic (down 79% in week number two), Chris Tomlin‘s Burning Lights (down 78%) and Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock and Roll (down 77%). On the other end of the spectrum, the smallest second-week erosion for a No. 1 bow belongs to Josh Groban‘s All That Echoes, which fell by just 50% in its second frame.
Since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, Yeezus’ fall is the fourth-largest for a No. 1-bowing album. The last larger second-week drop — and biggest overall — is owned by Madonna‘s MDNA. On the April 21, 2012 chart, it tumbled by 87% in its second week, mostly owed to how its first-week sales was amplified by a very successful concert ticket/album bundle promotion. Without the promotion to help shore up sales in its second week, the album took a significant tumble.
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)
July 13, 2013 – Kanye West, Yeezus – 80.27% (from 327,000 to 65,000 at No. 3)
Dec. 16, 2006 – Jay-Z, Kingdom Come – 79.42% (from 680,000 to 140,000 at No. 6)
Like MDNA, West’s album also had an unusual debut. Yeezus arrived to retail without the standard promotional campaign that most super star albums receive. It did not have an official single, no music from the set was released before the album came out, and West only made one TV appearance (a performance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live). In turn, perhaps because of the set’s untraditional marketing, the album found difficulty in sustaining its momentum.
That said, on Tuesday (July 2), West’s record label, Def Jam, released an official radio single from the set: “Black Skinhead.” The song is also featured in trailers for the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio film The Wolf of Wall Street.
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