Chart Watch: ARTPOP’s Slow Start

Where are all of Lady Gaga's little monsters?

They came out in droves for Gaga's second album, Born This Way, but her third full-length album, ARTPOP, is receiving a decidedly more tepid response from her social media-loving fanbase. The new entry sold 258K copies this week, a steep drop from Born This Way, which sold 1,108,000 in its first week in May 2011.

Of the 15 albums that have sold 1 million or more copies in their first week of release since 1991, only two others have been followed by albums that sold 300K or fewer copies in their first weeks: Lil Wayne's Rebirth, his follow-up to Tha Carter III, sold just 176K in its first week in February 2010, and Backstreet Boys' Never Gone, their follow-up to Black & Blue, sold 291K in its first week in June 2005.

Of course, Born This Way is the only one of those 15 albums that carries an asterisk. Billboard estimates that the first-week tally for Born This Way included 440K albums that sold for 99 cents at Amazon's MP3 store (on two days during its release week). When you use a gimmick to attain a headline-making sales plateau, you pay the price in negative stories when you inevitably are unable to sustain that sales level the next time without one.

Also, using Billboard's estimate, we can see that 668K copies of Born This Way sold at full price. So even in an apples-to-apples comparison, there's still a steep drop-off.

In the pop diva race, Gaga's tally puts her behind 2013 female artist one-week sales leaders Katy Perry's PRISM, which started with sales of 286K in October, and Miley Cyrus's Bangerz, which opened with sales of 270K two weeks earlier. But it's more than Rihanna's Unapologetic, which sold 238K in its first week in November 2012. Both Gaga and Rihanna are considered among the top female pop stars on the planet. As such, shouldn't they be able to drum up bigger first-week sales totals? You'd think so.

So why didn't ARTPOP do better this week? One reason is that many view "Applause," the album's lead single, as a dud because it didn't reach No. 1. That view isn't really fair. The song peaked at No. 4 and has remained in the top 10 for its entire 13-week chart run. It's a hit, just not a "Roar"-size smash.

ARTPOP sold 146K digital copies, which allows it to enter Top Digital Albums at the top. Comparatively, Born This Way sold a record 662K digital copies in its first week.

ARTPOP also enters the U.K.'s Official Albums Chart at No. 1. It's Gaga's second album in a row to reach No. 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. (Gaga's debut album, The Fame, hit No. 1 in the U.K., but stalled at No. 2 in the U.S.)

Let's dig deeper into the follow-ups to the 15 albums that sold 1 million or more copies in their first week of release since 1991. (By follow-ups, we mean the first studio albums after those blockbusters.) 'N Sync went out on top and never released a follow-up to 2001's Celebrity. Taylor Swift hasn't yet released her follow-up to 2012's Red.

That gives us 13 cases where a follow-up to a million-unit first-week smash has been released. Remarkably, in two of those cases, the follow-ups sold even more copies in their first week than the original albums did. Backstreet Boys' Black & Blue (1,591,000) sold more than Millennium (1,134,000). Swift's Red (1,208,000) sold more than Speak Now (1,047,000).

The Fine Print: Technically, The Eminem Show (his follow-up to The Marshall Mathers LP) sold just 285K copies in its first week, but that was only because of "street date violations," where many stores jumped the gun and sold the album early. It sold 1,322,000 copies in its first full week of sales. Here's another technicality: Garth Brooks ... In The Life Of Chris Gaines (262K in its first week) was Brooks's first studio album after 1998's Double Live, but it was such an odd (and still baffling) career detour, we're counting Scarecrow, where he was actually being himself, as his real follow-up. That album sold 466K copies in its first week in November 2001.

In other chart news this week, Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 dips from No. 1 to No. 2 in its second week. The album sold 210K copies this week, bringing its two-week total to 1,003,000. It's the ninth album to sell 1 million copies in 2013. Three of these albums are hip-hop (Drake, Jay Z and Eminem). No other genre accounts for more than two. The genres with two each are pop (Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars), country (Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line) and rock (Imagine Dragons, Mumford & Sons). Just for the record, this is Em's first No. 1 album to be pushed out of the top spot after just one week. His six other No. 1 albums stayed put in their second weeks.

Now 48 debuts at No. 3. This is the 45th consecutive regular Now edition to debut in the top five. This is like printing money!

The Robertsons'Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas dips from No. 3 to No. 4. It's No. 1 on Top Country Albums for the third week. It's also No. 1 on Top Christmas Albums for the third week. (In those three weeks, the total number of Christmas albums included on The Billboard 200 has swelled from 18 to 25 to 38.) Duck The Halls is vying to become the first country album to emerge as the year's top holiday seller since Garth Brooks's Beyond The Season in 1992. Incidentally, this is the biggest "Duck" phenomenon to hit the charts since Rick Dees And His Cast Of Idiots' "Disco Duck (Part I)" topped the Hot 100 in October 1976.

The Beatles'On AirLive At The BBC, Volume 2 debuts at No. 7. The first volume reached No. 3 in December 1994. This is the Beatles' 31st top 10 album. Only four artists in chart history have had more. Frank Sinatra leads with 39 (dating back to the introduction of the first album chart in March 1945). The Rolling Stones have had 36; Barbra Streisand, 32.

The Beatles album cracks the top 10 just four weeks after Paul McCartney's New debuted at No. 3. That was his 19th post-Beatles album to make the top 10. Simple math tells us that McCartney has now amassed a record-setting grand total of 50 top 10 albums during his long and legendary career.

The Beatles' initial Live At The BBC re-enters the chart at #34. It has sold 1,552,000 copies.

Jhene Aiko's Sail Out debuts at No. 8. Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino are among the featured artists on the EP. Aiko was featured on Big Sean's recent Top 40 hit "Beware."

"The Monster" by Eminem featuring Rihanna returns to No. 1 on Hot Digital Songs in its third week (243K), dislodging "Say Something" by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera, which tumbles to #12 (76K). Will "The Monster" knock Lorde's "Royals" off its throne on the Hot 100 this week, or will it need another week or two? You'll find out later today when we post our Songs blog.

Here's a recap of this week's top 10 albums.

The Top Five: Lady Gaga's ARTPOP debuts at No. 1 (258K). It's her fifth top 10 album ... Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 dips from No. 1 to No. 2 in its second week (210K) ... NOW 48 debuts at No. 3 (114K) ... The Robertsons' Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas dips from No. 3 to No. 4 in its third week (66K). It has been in the top five the entire time ... Katy Perry's PRISMdips from No. 4 to No. 5 in its fourth week (46K). It has been in the top five the entire time.

The Second Five: Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red holds No. 6 for the second week in its third week (42K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time ... The Beatles' On AirLive At The BBC, Volume 2 debuts at No. 7 (37K). It's the group's 31st top 10 album ... Jhene Aiko's Sail Out debuts at No. 8 (34K). It's her first top 10 album ... Drake's Nothing Was The Same drops from No. 7 to No. 9 in its eighth week (33K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time ... Lorde's Pure Heroine drops from No. 8 to No. 10 in its sixth week (32K). It has been in the top 10 the entire time.

Four albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Celine Dion's Loved Me Back To Life drops from No. 2 to No. 13. Avril Lavigne's Avril Lavigne drops from No. 5 to No. 26. Arcade Fire's Reflektor drops from No. 9 to No. 18. Pentatonix's PTX, Vol. 2 plummets from No. 10 to No. 70. (Ouch!) A couple of quick notes: Loved Me Back To Life is No. 1 in Canada for the second week. Avril Lavigne is No. 1 in Japan for the second week.

Kellie Pickler's fourth studio album, The Woman I Am, debuts at No. 19. All four have made the top 20. Her first three made the top 10 ... The Killers' greatest hits album, Direct Hits,debuts at No. 20. It's their sixth top 20 album.

Michael Buble's 2011 album Christmas leaps from No. 34 to No. 21 in its 23rd chart week. The album spent five weeks at No. 1 in 2011 and climbed as high as No. 3 last year. Will it make the top 10 for the third year in a row? Place your bets. The album has sold 3,111,000 copies, which makes it the 12th-best-selling Christmas album since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking music sales. In the coming week, it will surpass Harry Connick Jr.'s 1993 album When My Heart Finds Christmas (3,130,000) and climb into 11th place. Buble's album is No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 10th week ... Mary J. Blige'sA Mary Christmas vaults from No. 57 to No. 22 in its fifth week. This is its highest ranking to date.

Vince Guaraldi Trio's 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas re-enters the chart at No. 25. The album has sold 3,295,000 copies since January 1991, which makes it the 10th-best-selling Christmas album in this time frame. (Of course, it sold millions more copies in its first 25 years of release.) Guaraldi's album is No. 1 on Top Soundtracks for the first time in its long run.

Now Disney 2 debuts at No. 27. The first volume reached No. 34 late last year ... Bun-B's Trill O.G. The Epilogue debuts at disappointing No. 30. His first Trill O.G. reached No. 4 in August 2010.

"The Best Man Holiday" soundtrack vaults from No. 200 to No. 32 in its third week. The movie is a sequel to 1999's "The Best Man," which reached No. 16 with its soundtrack. The new album is the top-ranking soundtrack to a theatrically released movie for the first week. "The Best Man" held that distinction for four weeks in the fall of 1999. "The Best Man Holiday" was the top-grossing new movie over the weekend. It enters the box-office chart at No. 2, just behind the holdover "Thor: The Dark World."

Ellen DeGeneres'sI'm Gonna Make You Dance debuts at No. 38. The collection consists of dance classics stretching from the 1970s (Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady," the Jackson 5's "Dancing Machine) to the present day (Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Thrift Shop"). This is DeGeneres's first chart album. She released a comedy album, Taste This, in 1996, but it didn't chart.

The Rolling Stones' Sweet Summer Sun—Hyde Park Live enters Top Music Videos at No. 1. It's the group's second video to reach No. 1 this year. Crossfire Hurricane topped the chart for two weeks in the spring. The band had three earlier No. 1s: 25 X 5: The Continuing Adventures Of The Rolling Stones (six weeks on top in 1990), The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus (one week on top in 1996) and Ladies And Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones (two weeks on top in 2010).

Coming Attractions: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" soundtrack, Five Finger Death Punch'sWrong Side Of Heaven & The Righteous Side Of Hell, Vol. 2 and Daughtry's Baptized are next week's top contenders. Also due: Barbra Streisand's Back To Brooklyn, Frank Sinatra's Duets: Twentieth Anniversary, Yo Gotti'sI Am, Webbie's Savage Life 4, Danielle Bradbery's Danielle Bradbery, Nickelback's Best Of Nickelback, Phillip Phillips's Live EP and Jenni Rivera's Unbreakable.