Published Jun 01, 2011While the general perception is that the recording industry has been in a slow decline for the better part of a decade, several indicators point to the fact that 2011 has been a good year for record sales. Already we learned that, due in part to increased digital sales, the music biz is in better shape now than it was last year and now we've learned that first week sales of Lady Gaga's recently released Born This Way are the biggest the U.S. industry's seen since 2005.
As Billboard reports, the singer sold 1,108,000 copies of her new album in the U.S., making it the biggest debut since 50 Cent's The Massacre (which dominated the Billboard charts with sales of 1,141,000 in March of 2005). In Canada, the singer sold a stunning 81,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
As impressive as the numbers are, some of the tactics used to sell Born This Way are coming under fire. For instance, Amazon sold the set for 99 cents last week, effectively crashing the site on May 23 before being offered up again on May 26. Some critics have called for these sales to be stricken from the tally.
Another U.S. promotion involved Best Buy customers getting a copy of the album with the purchase of a cellphone, though these albums were not counted as sales since buyers weren't necessarily angling for a copy of Gaga's latest. She also sold copies of the album through online gaming site Farmville.
Regardless, it's amazing how many units the star moved last week. The sales make Gaga the fifth female artist to have a million-plus week, following Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard, 1992), Britney Spears (Oops! I Did It Again, 2000), Norah Jones (Feels Like Home, 2004), and Taylor Swift (Speak Now, 2010). But Gaga is still nowhere near the 'N Sync's record for highest first-week sales, with 2000's No Strings Attached debuting at No. 1 with 2,416,000 copies.