Embarrassing flop upgraded to slightly-less-embarrassing non-flop.
According to Hits Daily Double, Rihanna‘s eighth studio album, ANTI is set to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Album 200 chart next week with sales of approximately 125,000. (HDD also reports that another 47,000 streaming units will bring ANTI‘s first full-week total to 172,000.) This news follows this week’s internet-shaking revelation that ANTI debuted at No. 27 on the chart after selling only 460 copies. This despite the fact that the album was already certified platinum by the RIAA.
Of course, that news, while true, was only part of the story: yes, only 460 copies of the album were counted, but the album had only been available to purchase for a short amount of time before the cutoff. Most of the album’s chart points came from streams. Together, the sales and streams were enough to get her to chart after only a day or so of release.
While reaching the apex of the chart is indeed impressive, especially after she gave the album away for free to a million people, it is worth noting that the numbers — 125,000 sold /172,000 sales + streaming — are somewhat anemic for an artist of Rihanna’s stature. For comparison, here are a list of recent-ish pop releases and what they sold their first week of release. (Please note: Billboard began factoring in album streams in 2014. Where appropriate, I have noted what the album sold vs. the total, which includes streaming.)
- Britney Spears’ Britney Jean (2013) – 107,000
- Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP (2013) – 258,000
- Katy Perry’s Prism (2013) – 286,000
- Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz (2013) – 270,000
- Beyoncé’s Beyoncé (2013) – 617,213 (after only three days)
- Taylor Swift’s 1989 (2014) – 1,287,000
- Madonna’s Rebel Heart (2015) – 121,000 (116,000 in pure sales)
- Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable (2015) – 121,000 (109,000 in pure sales)
- Justin Bieber’s Purpose (2015) – 649,000 (522,000 in pure sales)
- Selena Gomez’s Revival (2015) – 117,000 (85,000 in pure sales)
- Adele’s 25 (2015) – 3,380,000
Lastly, Rihanna’s last studio set — 2012’s Unapologetic — moved 238,000 copies its first week, nearly double ANTI‘s (pure sales) total, and became her first No. 1 album. It remains her best-ever sales week. ANTI will bumpAdele‘s still-going-strong 25 down to No. 2 (93,000 units moved).