The "Hope For Haiti Now" charity album debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 171,000 sold according to Nielsen SoundScan, becoming the first digital-exclusive set to top the tally in its nearly 54-year history.
The MTV Networks compilation, featuring performances culled from last Friday's (Jan. 22) massive "Hope For Haiti Now" telethon, only reached digital distributors over the weekend, making its sales number all the more impressive. SoundScan's sales tracking week ends at the close of business each Sunday, so "Hope for Haiti's" brisk sales came from no more than two full days.
With "Hope for Haiti's" debut of 171,000 following 100,000-plus starts at No. 1 from Ke$ha's "Animal" (152,000) and Vampire Weekend's "Contra" (124,000), it's the first time since 2005 that the first three tracking weeks of the year had an album that sold at least 100,000 copies. Also, as "Hope for Haiti" is sold through indie digital distributor INgrooves, it gives the Billboard 200 back-to-back independently distributed No. 1 albums, following Vampire Weekend's "Contra" last week.
The "Hope for Haiti" benefit album is one of three debuts in the top 10 this week. The second-highest arrival comes from Spoon's "Transference" at No. 4 with 53,000. The Merge Records set gives the band its highest charting album and best sales week. Its last release, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga," debuted and peaked at No. 10 in 2007 from its 46,000 unit start.
The next best debut is the "2010 Grammy Nominees" album, starting at No. 5 with 49,000. Watch for the compilation to see sales jumps in the next two weeks following the broadcast of the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 31.
As for the rest of the Billboard 200 top 10, Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" holds at No. 2 with 86,000, claiming a 12% sales gain following her performance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last week. Lady Gaga's "The Fame" is up one spot to No. 3 (62,000; down 3%) while last week's No. 1, Vampire Weekend's "Contra," slips to No. 6 with 43,000 (down 65%).
Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom" falls two notches to No. 7 (40,000; down 16%), Ke$ha's "Animal" crawls down five rungs to No. 8 (just over 35,000; down 47%) and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." is up one to No. 9 (just under 35,000; up 7%). Closing out the top 10 this week is Taylor Swift's "Fearless," down two slots to No. 10 with 32,000 (down 5%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 24) totaled 5.84 million units, up 3% compared to the sum last week (5.69 million) and down 9% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (week ending Jan. 25; 6.43 million).