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Lady Gaga’s First Week Sales Count: Are The Numbers Fair?

Submitted by on June 1, 2011 – 7:57 am6 Comments

While earlier predictions had Lady Gaga‘s new album selling anywhere from 800,000 to one million copies in its first week, official numbers are in and according to Nielsen SoundScan, Mother Monster has sold 1.108 million copies. This makes Born This Way the fastest-selling album in six years.

While undoubtedly a significant achievement for any artist in music’s current free-for-all climate, a large portion of the album’s sales might as well have been just that: free. Many music industry insiders and fans alike are saying Gaga’s team “cheated” by having Amazon price her CD at 99c for two whole two days (Monday and Thursday) last week, a move that significantly bumped up original predictions. Obviously a ploy to pique interest in casual listeners rather than rabid fans, it’s now difficult to justify Gaga’s overall sales tally when compared with, say, Taylor Swift‘s first week sales of Speak Now last October (1.04 million full-priced copies, according to chart website Hits Daily Double).

Gaga’s team employed extremely forward-thinking and far-reaching strategies in the marketing of the album also, through “big-box retailers, traditional media outlets like HBO and lots of new media partnerships, and by a strategy of stocking the album at thousands of nontraditional retail outlets, like Hudson News, Walgreens and CVS,” according to the New York Times. The paper quotes Troy Carter, Gaga’s manager, as saying: “To purchase a CD now, there aren’t a lot of places you can go. It’s Best Buy, it’s Target, it’s Wal-Mart. So our thing was, with Gaga being such a household name, being able to put her in places where people shop. To be on an endcap at Whole Foods, if you see a Gaga CD, you might be familiar with her as an artist, and you might give it a chance.”

Up next for Gaga is the video for her latest single “Edge Of Glory,” which she filmed this past weekend. The song features legendary E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons and is an homage of sorts to her rock inspirations, which include Bruce Springsteen and more.

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