Chart Watch: Beyonce’s Christmas Surprise
Both Timberlake and Drake are featured on B's star-studded album, which consists of 14 songs and 17 videos. The album is an iTunes exclusive for now. A physical CD/DVD combo is due on Friday.
This is the fastest start for a Beyonce album. The old record was held by 2006's "B'Day," which sold 541K in its first week. "Beyonce" sold about twice as many copies in its first week as B's 2011 album, "4" (310K).
This was a stealth release that few knew about as late as last Thursday, when initial sales projections for the week had Garth Brooks holding on to the top spot for a second week.
Beyonce's album was put on the market without any advance hype; as Hits magazine put it, "without any wind-up, preamble or tease." This is contrary to the usual pattern with superstar releases, where there is a carefully-planned build-up that entails from two to four months. People in the industry are calling Beyonce's debut a "game-changer," raising the possibility that all the pre-release hype may have just added to a sense of calculation and may even, in some cases, have drained excitement rather than accentuated it.
Beyonce's album sets a new record for the fastest start by a digital-only release. The old record was set by the all-star "Hope For Haiti Now," which sold 171K in its first week (and 143K in its second) in January 2010. The old record for a digital-only release by a single artist was Lil Wayne's "I Am Not A Human Being" (110K) in October 2010.