WINNER OF THE WEEK: What's extraordinary about Lil Wayne's new album Tha Carter IV is not just that retailers expect it to sell 850,000 to 900,000 in its debut week, but that after just a day and a half of sales, iTunes ranked it Number One on its weekly albums chart. Wayne's latest single, the minimalist love song "She Will," has tapered off a bit after making its debut last week at Number One on both Billboard's Hot 100 and BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart, which measures newfangled online stuff like Facebook likes and YouTube hits. It dropped on Billboard's digital-songs chart from Number One to Number Seven, selling 112,000 copies, or 56 percent fewer than last week, and it's entirely possible the Ultimate Chart will reflect a similar decrease when its rankings arrive tomorrow. But Tha Carter IV is well-situated to be one of the biggest-selling albums of the summer, and the year – given its Internet base, it seems unlikely to drop quickly out of the Top 10 in the manner of Lady Gaga's Born This Way or Beyonce's 4.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: It's weird to anoint a Number One album "Loser of the Week," but veteran gangsta rapper Game's R.E.D. qualifies if anything does. Yes, it hit Number One, but with only 98,000 copies sold – less than half of the sales of 2008's LAX, which racked up 239,000. On iTunes, it rises merely to Number Three, behind the aforementioned Lil Wayne and country star Miranda Lambert's new side project Pistol Annies, whose Hell On Heels hits Number Two. The next Ultimate Chart doesn't arrive online till tomorrow, so this could change, but Game didn't even place a single in the Top 100 in the most recent chart, and tracks from the album are also missing from iTunes' Singles Chart. One problem is R.E.D. has had a checkered history as far as singles are concerned -- "Red Nation" and "Pot of Gold" tanked when they came out earlier this year.
THE RETURN OF LADY (OR IS IT LORD) GAGA: Even before Lady Gaga's bizarre, cross-dressing, performance art of an opening to Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the megastar singer's "Yoü and I" was already surging up the singles charts. It rose a ridiculous 121 spots on the Ultimate Chart, from Number 140 to Number 19 as of last Thursday, most likely due to the video, which introduced her foul-mouthed alter-ego Jo Calderone in mid-August, two weeks before the awards show. (It has since tallied more than 16.4 million views.) After the VMAs, of course, all hell broke loose, commercially speaking – "Yoü and I" hit Number Eight on iTunes this week and jumped from Number 24 to Number Eight on Billboard's digital-songs chart, selling 109,000, an increase of 92 percent. Gaga's Born This Way sales since late May have had an unusual trajectory, spiking immediately, plummeting quickly, then (we presume) coming back.
LAST WEEK: Lil Wayne, Hit Single Machine