Lil Wayne scores first million-unit album debut in three year
Jun 18, 2008 | by Chris Willman
Many music-biz types were convinced we'd never again see an album sell a million copies in a week. It hadn't happened since 50 Cent's The Massacre topped the mark in 2005. Yet Lil Wayne is proof that if you build something fans truly want, even in the depressed market of 2008, they will come. His Tha Carter III (No. 1) exceeded all projections by selling just a hair over 1 million units — particularly impressive considering that the rapper's previous best sales week was a mere 238,000.
That huge debut left Plies' Definition of Real looking like small potatoes at No. 2 with 215,000 units — a figure that usually would be more than enough to top the Nielsen Soundscan/Billboard chart. But they weren't the only new releases worth mentioning. N.E.R.D.'s long-awaited Seeing Sounds debuted at No. 7 with 80,000, followed by Alanis Morissette's Flavors of Entanglement at No. 8 with 70,000. Critical and festival favorite My Morning Jacket made a first-time appearance in the top 10 of the album chart by selling 49,000 and coming in at No. 9. Other debuts of note included country duo Montgomery Gentry at No. 20 (27,000 copies), Emmylou Harris at No. 22 (also 27,000), the first solo effort from Jakob Dylan at No. 24 (24,000), and the iCarly soundtrack at No. 28 (20,000).
In the singles world, Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" held onto the top spot on the digital songs chart...and for the first time in their career, the British foursome also took control of the Hot 100, which combines sales and airplay. Next week, they're expected to easily top the album chart as well. Based on Tuesday's first day of sales, Viva la Vida, the band's fourth album, should sell some 600,000 copies. Though iTunes doesn't usually release its sales figures, the online music store took the unusual step of announcing that the album sold 140,000 on that site just on its first day. That shatters the iTunes record for sales in an entire week, previously held by Jack Johnson — and there are six days still left to go. For the hangdog music biz, June really is bustin' out all over.