One huge summer blockbuster movie usually scares away smaller films from even attempting to open up on the same week. The same thing often (though not always) applies to the music industry: When Jay-Z dropped Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail last week, he faced no major competitors. A total of 4.84 million albums were sold this week, and over 10 percent of those were Jay-Z's new disc. It wasn't enough to stop the steady decline of the music industry, though – overall sales are still down 13 percent when compared to the same week in 2012.
HOV HAS THE LAST LAUGH: It turns out Jay-Z isn't having such a bad month after all. His new LP Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail has generated mixed reviews, and fans who attempted to download the album early with Samsung smartphones were confronted with overloaded servers and aggressive demands that they share personal information. Samsung paid him $5 million to offer the album to users five days early, but Billboard refused to count the million albums that the company bought.
But none of that wound up up mattering. Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail debuted at Number One by selling 527,000 copies through traditional means – the second biggest opening week of the year behind Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience. If you add in the Samsung million, it means he moved a whopping 1,527,000 albums in less than two weeks. We're sure he's crying about his bad press all the way to the bank.
Billboard also notes that this is Jay-Z's 13th Number One album. That's a record for solo acts, though he has six more to go until he matches the Beatles.
THE RETURN OF CIARA AND THE RISE OF SKYLAR: Ciara scored the number two album this week by moving 58,000 copies of her fourth disc. The album marks Ciara's first disc for Epic and her reunion with producers Rodney Jenkins and Jasper Cameron, the team responsible for many of her early hits. The formula worked – the album sold 21,000 more copies in its debut week than her last disc, 2010's Basic Instinct.
Skylar Grey, best known as the guest vocalist on Dr. Dre's "I Need a Doctor" and Diddy Dirty Money's "Coming Home," landed at number eight on the Billboard 200 by selling 24,000 copies of her album Don't Look Down. It's her first disc as Skylar Grey, though in 2006 she released the LP Like Blood Luke Honey as Holly Brook.
DANCING WITH MILEY: Not that there was much doubt, but Miley Cyrus has a genuine monster hit on her hands with "We Can't Stop." It's up three percent this week with 216,000 downloads. The video has over 77 million views on YouTube. She hasn't had a hit this big since "Party in the U.S.A.," way back in the Stone Age of 2009. Her new album still doesn't have an official release date, but it's likely to do much better than her disappointing 2010 disc Can't Be Tamed. Meanwhile, "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons seems to have peaked, selling 179,000 downloads, a three percent decline from last week. Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" is down 12 percent with 157,000 downloads, though radio is still playing the hell out of both those songs.