Newcomer Ke$ha opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with her debut album, "Animal," shifting 152,000 copies . . . Of that figure, an eye-popping 76% was made up of digital downloads . . . After a six-week run at No. 1, Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" drifts to No. 2 with 93,000 (down 32%) . . . Next week, Ke$ha may step aside for Vampire Weekend's second album, "Contra," which has a chance of starting at No. 1 with perhaps 75,000.
Ke$ha replaces Susan Boyle at the top of the Billboard 200 heap, thanks to the arrival of the former's debut album, "Animal," with 152,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The youthful fans of Ke$ha must be delighted to see the 22-year-old party-hearty girl bump the soaring sounds of the 48-year-old Scottish reality TV star's "I Dreamed a Dream" out of the top slot after a six-week run. This week, Boyle slips to No. 2 with 93,000 (down 32%).
With 152,000, "Animal" actually sold better than first expected. Initially, some industry sources thought it was going to sell around 100,000 copies in its first frame. That comparatively conservative figure came as a result of how "Animal" sold a boatload of downloads in it first two days of release. Generally, albums that intially sell crazy download numbers tend to trail off quicker as the week progresses. Thus, some industry projectors figured "Animal" would sell around 100,000.
But as it turns out, "Animal" held up very well all week long, especially at digital download stores. It also helps that the set carried an attractive developing-artist list price of $9.98, and it was on sale for less than that at the big physical retailers. Additionally, both the Amazon MP3 and iTunes Stores sold it for only $6.99.
In total, 76% of the album's first-week sales came from download retailers. That's the largest weekly digital percentage share for an album at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It's also the largest digital sales week for any album—in terms of number of downloads—since John Mayer's "Battle Studies" debuted with 129,000 downloads in November. But, consider that his 129,000 downloads came as a part of an overall 286,000 copies that week (for a 45% digital share).
As for the rest of the top 10 this week, Lady Gaga's "The Fame" gets bounced down one rung to No. 3 with 66,000 (down 20%) while Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom" (62,000; down 22%) and Mary J. Blige's "Stronger With Each Tear" (47,000; down 25%) each also drop one spot, respectively, to Nos. 4 and 5. The "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" soundtrack climbs one position to No. 6 with 44,000 (down 13%), Taylor Swift's "Fearless" falls two spots to No. 7 (38,000; down 36%), and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." holds steady at No. 8 (36,000; down 24%). Closing out the top 10 are Justin Bieber's "My World," falling three places to No. 9 (34,000; down 34%) and Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster," down one notch to No. 10 with 31,000 (down 30%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 10) totaled 5.9 million units, down 24% compared with the sum last week (7.8 million) and down 5% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (week ending Jan. 11; 6.3 million).
As for next week on the Billboard 200, it's looking like Vampire Weekend's sophomore album, "Contra," will be the highest debut and seems like a good bet for No. 1. Industry sources are projecting—based on first-day sales numbers—that the album could sell between 60,000 to 75,000 copies by week's end on Sunday, Jan. 17.
Ke$ha's "Animal" will likely slide out of the No. 1 position to make way for Vampire Weekend, though it's too early to tell what kind of second-week sales drop "Animal" may face.
Vampire's new set is being sold for $9.99 in iTunes' Store and for $3.99 in Amazon's MP3 Store. The latter retailer got a head start on the Vampire action, as it began selling the set Monday, Jan. 11—one day earlier than the album's official street date. Target and Best Buy are each also offering the title for not quite $8.
Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut entered and peaked on the Billboard 200 at No. 17 with 28,000 nearly two years ago. It has sold far sold 491,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week, as reflected in Billboard's sales charts, runs from Monday through Sunday of each week. Next week's album charts will be revealed Wednesday, Jan. 20, and will reflect data through the week ending Sunday, Jan. 13.
Album units, current chart week: 5.9 million units
DOWN 24% from last week's charts: 7.8 million units
DOWN 5% from the comparable week in 2009: 6.3 million units
This week: Only the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 sells more than 100,000 copies.
This week last year on the Billboard 200: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" was a familiar face at No. 1, selling 72,000. The chart's top debut came at No. 16 from "Total Club Hits 2" with 20,000 copies.
A LOOK AHEAD
Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Vampire Weekend's "Contra," OK Go's "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky," Omarion's "Ollusion" and Ringo Starr's "Y Not."
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" was yet again No. 1 (63,000) while the biggest new entry came from the soundtrack to "Notorious" at No. 4 with 43,000.