Lady Gaga’s sophomore album “Born This Way” has officially debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 1,108,000 copies sold in its release week, also snatching up the renown of becoming the 17th album to sell a million copies in a week since SoundScan began tracking sales data in twenty years ago.
The album has also given the music industry its highest sales week since 2005, when 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” sold 1,141,000 its first week. Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” was the last album to hit the million mark, at 1, 047,000 in November of last year. The SoundScan-tracked record week holder is N ‘Sync, whose “No Strings Attached” debuted at No. 1 with 2,416,000 in 2000.
The record frame for a woman in SoundScan-era album sales is Britney Spears, with “Oops! I Did it Again,” in May 2000. Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” soundtrack was the first to shift a million since 1991. Norah Jones’ “Feels Like Home” hit the mark next, and then Swift. Gaga is the fifth woman to clear the million-plus hurdle.
As of a month ago, Gaga’s label, Universal Music Group, had estimated a first-week total of about 400,000 – a figure proved to be a huge underestimate in reality. With the help of Amazon, who sold the album for 99 cents on Wednesday, May 25, and Thursday, May 26, the album was locked in to sell upwards of a million by the end of its first week.
AmazonMP3 estimates that more than 440,000 downloads of the 99-cent offer were sold. Gaga’s total from all digital retailers was 662,000. This represents the biggest week for a digital album in SoundScan history and 60% of the set’s overall debut week.