British rock act Arctic Monkeys are poised to set an industry benchmark after retailers reported explosive first-week sales for their debut album. Retail sources say “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” (Domino) moved more than 120,000 copies on Monday alone, its first day of U.K. release.
Domino head Laurence Bell tells Billboard.com the album shipped more than 350,000 units ahead of its release. Executives at market-leading specialist music retailer HMV Group suggest demand for the album could outstrip the supply, based on the chain’s own sales and Official U.K. Charts Company data.
That would make it the fastest-selling debut album in U.K. chart history, ahead of the reality TV show-spawned pop act Hear’Say’s “Popstars” (Polydor, 2001), which the OCC says sold 306,631 units in its first week. In Britain, platinum certification is awarded to albums that have shipped 300,000 units.
The Monkeys are currently at No. 1 on the U.K. Singles chart with “When the Sun Goes Down,” a feat they matched with previous track “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.”
“It’s been a word of mouth phenomenon that none of us have really seen in music,” Bell says. “I’m not sure there’s anything we can compare it to. It’s completely unprecedented.”
The sales achievement is likely to far outperform debut albums from now-established rock acts. Oasis’ August 1994 release “Definitely Maybe” (Creation) sold 55,854 in its first week, while Coldplay’s July 2000 release “Parachutes” (Parlophone) shifted 70,000 units in its opening frame, according to OCC data. Arctic Monkeys’ Domino labelmate Franz Ferdinand’s eponymous debut sold 75,457 units after its February 2004 U.K. release.
Oasis’ “Be Here Now,” holds the record for the fastest-selling album of all time in Britain. The album shifted 655,000 copies in its week of release in August 1997.