When is enough not enough? When you’re Lady Gaga and nothing is ever enough. Mother Monster has been grinding away for months promoting her ARTPOP masterpiece, performing, making appearances all over the globe, trotting out one outrageous outfit after another and doing double-duty as host and musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend.
And yet, the first-week sales for the album will forever come with the caveat that they were nowhere near her previous high. According to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, ARTPOP will knock labelmate Eminem from the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart with sales of 258,000, giving the singer her second #1 debut in a row. But that figure is well below the more than 1.1 million copies she moved in the first week of release for her 2011 opus, Born This Way.
Battle Of The Pop Divas
In a battle of the divas, Gaga’s final figure also came in behind the first-week sales for Katy Perry’s Prism, which moved 286,000 units last month, and Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, which shifted 270,000 , giving Gaga the third-best open by a female solo act in 2013.
While Gaga’s final tally fell in line with the figures put up by her female peers, it was well below the first-week numbers for such male stars as Drake, Eminem, Justin Timberlake and relative newcomer J. Cole.
In fact, despite dropping off by 73 percent in his second week, Em’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 slipped just one spot to #2 on sales of 210,000, moving him past 1 million in just two weeks. Adding to that, Marshall actually bested Gaga on the iTunes album chart, holding down the #1 spot while she had to settle for #2.
Number One — And Number 12
Only time will tell how ARTPOP does in the long run, but measured against the best-selling debuts so far in 2013, Gaga’s latest comes in a modest #12 on the list.
The Best First Week’s Of 2013 … So Far
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience, (968,000)
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, (792,000)
Drake, Nothing Was The Same, (658,000)
Luke Bryan, Crash My Party, (528,000)
Jay Z Magna Carta Holy Grail, (527,000)
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2, (350,000)
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories, (339,000)
Kanye West, Yeezus, (327,000)
J. Cole, Born Sinner, (297,000, #2 debut)
Katy Perry, Prism, (286,000)
Miley Cyrus, Bangerz, (270,000)
Lady Gaga, ARTPOP, (258,000)
Record Sales Aren’t Everything?
Gaga can surely take solace in the fact that the ARTPOP sales don’t tell the whole picture. This week also brought the latest list of the World’s Highest Paid Musicians from Forbes magazine, which was topped by Mother Monster’s sometimes rival Madonna, who made an estimated $125 million on her MDNA Tour.
Madonna’s long, up-and-down three-plus decade career is proof positive that first-week sales numbers are not everything. Just look at #2 on the Forbes list, and you’ll see Gaga was right behind at $80 million, much of it made on the road as well.
Eminem Still A ‘Monster’ On Songs Chart
Over on the Billboard Digital Songs chart, Eminem was back at #1 with “The Monster” (243,000), which was up 62 percent from the week before. Meanwhile, last week’s #1, A Great Big World’s collabo with Christina Aguilera on “Say Something,” dropped 11 spots to #12 as sales fell 60 percent to 76,000.
One of the week’s biggest gainers was Imagine Dragons’ “Demons,” which shot up five spots to #5 on sales of 129,000, while “The Voice” contestant Matthew Schuler broke into the list at #9 with his cover of “Hallelujah” (106,000).