Of course, Billboard isn’t counting the milli that Jigga pre-sold through his troubled Samsung app, so the Roc regent will have to make do with the second-best debut of the year for MCHG, which shifted 527,000 copies in its first week at retail, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
The figures easily outpaced Jay’s previous two albums, 2009′s The Blueprint 3 (476,000) and Watch the Throne (436,000), and gave him the #2 slot for the year , well behind Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience (968,000).
The final figures pushed him well beyond the year’s previous second placer, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, which sold 339,000 in its debut. And while Jay did manage to get the RIAA to play by his #newrules and hand over his platinum plaque after the Samsung stunt, Billboard has steadfastly refused to count the mobile phone giveaway in its first-week sales figures.
Ciara had a nice open as well, way back at #2 with her self-titled album (58,000), one of only two fresh faces in the top 10. Hookmistress and songwriter Skylar Grey snuck in at #8 with her long-awaited Don’t Look Down (24,000), which features assists from Big Sean, Travis Barker, Eminem and Angel Haze.
The rest of the top 10: J. Cole, Born Sinner (#3, 39,000), Imagine Dragons, Night Visions (#4, 32,000), Florida Georgia Line, Here’s to the Good Times (#5, 31,000), Kanye West, Yeezus (#6, 29,000), Wale, The Gifted (#7, 28,000), Daft Punk, Random Access Memories (#9, 23,000) and The Heist (#10, 22,000) from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who, along with Justin Timberlake, are the leading nominees for the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards .
Grey had a better week on the iTunes album chart, where she came in at #2, ahead of Ciara. The sequel to Timberlake’s 20/20, due out in September , made it to #6 on the iTunes chart thanks to pre-sale, and the “Pitch Perfect” soundtrack was at #9 courtesy of the continued success of star Anna Kendrick’s single, “Cups (When I’m Gone),” which was at #9 on the iTunes singles chart.
Four-time VMA nominee Robin Thicke continued to dominate that tally with his summer smash, “Blurred Lines,” while Mack & Lewis held down the #7 spot with “Same Love” and #8 with “Can’t Hold Us.”
Jay is likely to run the boards again next week, as the only new titles are from Sara Bareilles and Ace Hood.