Lady Gaga's Born This Way is projected to sell more than 1 million copies in its first week and could post the highest opening sales numbers in nearly 10 years, according to projections by Billboard.
Spurred by huge sales through Amazon.com — which priced Born This Way at 99 cents during its first two days of release (just one of a myriad of promotional schemes tied to the album — Gaga's new album is on track to move 1.15 million units, which would not only outpace the last artist to break the million mark (that would be Taylor Swift, whose Speak Now bowed with sales of 1,047,000 copies in November 2010) but would give her the biggest opening week since 'NSYNC's Celebrity, which sold 1.88 million copies in its first week way back in 2001.
Billboard reports that Born This Way sold more than 500,000 copies on its first day of release alone, including 330,000 copies on Amazon and 104,000 copies through iTunes. The album also dominated physical retail, selling more than 45,000 units through Best Buy and 35,000 through Target on the day it was released. It was also made available in an unprecedented amount of non-traditional retailers — more than 20,000 nationwide — including CVS Pharmacies, Whole Foods and Walgreens.
Given the number of locations in which it was sold, the pricing schemes implemented and the promotional ploys to which it was tied, there was some concern about just how to tally Born This Way's first-week sales. In the end, Billboard decided to count sales figures from Amazon (despite the 99-cent pricing) but not some from Best Buy, which gave the album away for free with a smartphone.
On Sunday, the album debuted at #1 on the U.K. album charts, selling more than 215,000 copies — the biggest first-week sales of the year — and also accomplishing the rather remarkable feat of outselling the rest of the U.K. top 10 combined.
Final U.S. sales results will be revealed on Wednesday.