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Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s Watch the Throne arrives, as expected, at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 436,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the second-largest sales week of the year for an album, behind only the 1.1 million start of Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way.
Throne was available exclusively through iTunes from Aug. 8-11 before going on sale at all digital and physical retailers on Friday, Aug. 12. SoundScan’s tracking week ended on Sunday, Aug. 14.
Throne sold 321,000 downloads, marking the second-largest digital week ever, behind only the 662,000 moved by Born This Way in its first week earlier this year. While SoundScan does not disclose retailer-specific sales figures, sources say Throne broke iTunes’ one-week sales record — with nearly 290,000 digital copies sold through the retailer. (Throne surpassed the previous iTunes record, set when Coldplay‘s 2008 album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends shifted 282,000 in its first week.)
Some industry prognosticators had projected Throne was going to move more than 500,000 overall. However, predicting Throne‘s first week was difficult because of its staggered release. Usually, albums drop to all retailers on Tuesdays, but Throne secured a Monday street date — and only through iTunes. Thus, normal projection models — based on all versions of an album hitting retailers on Tuesday — were thrown for a loop.
Throne also earns Jay-Z his 12th No. 1 and West his fifth. For Jay, the achievement extends his record as the solo act with the most No. 1 albums in history. Only The Beatles, with 19 No. 1s, have more.
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