WINNER OF THE WEEK: Expectations were insanely high for Lady Gaga's Born This Way, but she managed to meet them. The LP sold 1,108,000 copies its first week out, racking up the biggest first week since 50 Cent's The Massacre sold 1,141,000 over six years ago. Since then, music sales have cratered – making her accomplishment all the more impressive. The disc was aided by a relentless promotional campaign, multiple hit singles and appearances on Saturday Night Live, American Idol, Oprah, Ellen, Good Morning America and seemingly every other show on television. The biggest boost to the disc, however, may have been something Team Gaga hadn't even counted on: Amazon sold a download of the complete album for 99 cents. In an e-mail to music industry newsletter editor Bob Lefsetz, Gaga's manager Troy Carter said he had no idea the digital retailer was going to make such an offer. "I applaud them for their efforts," he wrote. "Anytime we can get people to purchase musically legally, it's a good thing." The disc sold 662,000 copies via digital retailers, and according to Billboard, it's estimated that Amazon sold 440,000 of those. Any way it breaks down, it's the biggest week for a digital album in SoundScan history.
To be a mega blockbuster, Born This Way is going to have to have long legs. Katy Perry's Teenage Dream, for example, has been out for 39 weeks and is still in the top 25 on the Billboard 200 due to the massive number of hit singles it's produced. But Born This Way has so many potential radio singles (have you heard "Marry The Night" yet?) that it's likely to stay on the top of the charts for a long time.
RUNNER UP: Releasing an album the same week as Born This Way may seem as crazy as following the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Brad Paisley, however, probably made a smart move by releasing his ninth album This Is Country Music this week. Movie studios often release a chick flick the same week as a huge action movie. That way women can watch Sex and the City while their husbands check out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Some parents probably picked up Paisley's new album after being dragged over to the Wal-Mart music department by their children.
Paisley is the Spiro Agnew of the country world: He's beloved, but he always comes in second. This is his third album to reach the Number Two slot. He's unlikely to surpass Gaga in the coming weeks, but he's scored huge country hits with the title track and "Old Alabama" (a duet with Alabama), so he has little room to complain.
QUICK BRAD PAISLEY FUN FACT: Paisley was a big fan of the Father of the Bride series. He wrote his 2002 song "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)" about seeing Father of the Bride with his ex-girlfriend. Paisley cast Father of the Bride actress Kimberly Williams in the video for the song, and they began dating. She's now known as Kimberly Williams-Paisley and is also the mother of his two children.
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