Week Ending Aug. 4, 2013. Albums: Robin Thicke, Call Katy Perry
Robin Thicke lands his first #1 album on The Billboard 200 with Blurred Lines. The album sold 177K copies in its first week, which is nearly as many as Thicke’s previous album, Love After War, has sold in its entire run. That album has sold just 207K copies since its release in December 2011. Blurred Lines ran up the 10th biggest first-week tally so far in 2013. It’s Thicke’s biggest opening week to date.
Even so, Thicke may be just a tad disappointed. 177K is a somewhat earthbound total considering that the title track (which features T.I. + Pharrell) has sold 4,268,000 copies—and is still going strong. The sexy song this week becomes the first song in digital history to top 400K in weekly sales four times. Also, this week it surpasses Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” to become the #2 best-seller so far in 2013. (It trails only “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz).
This echoes a similar situation in 2010, when Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream sold “just” 192K copies in its first week. That, too, was considered mildly disappointing number given the blockbuster success of the album’s lead-off single, “California Gurls” (featuring Snoop Dogg), which had sold 3,610,000 copies by that point (and was #2 for the year-to-date, just as “Blurred Lines” is now).
Perry, of course, had the last laugh. Her first-week tally may have been lackluster, but the album has amassed a rock-solid sales tally (2,743,000 as of this week). It famously became only the second album in history to spin off five #1 singles. Perry’s long-term result is a useful reminder that a lighter-than-expected first week isn’t the end of the world.
For the record, Blurred Lines gained strength as the week went along. Initial projections had the album selling about 135K in its first week. Thicke’s tally includes 66K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.
“Blurred Lines” is virtually certain to log its ninth week at #1 on the Hot 100 later today. This would mark the first time that one artist has topped both the Hot 100 and The Billboard 200 in the same week since the week ending Nov. 25, when Rihanna was in her second week at #1 with “Diamonds” as her album Unapologetic debuted in the top spot.
“Blurred Lines” spent five weeks at #1 on the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart. Thicke’s album also reached #1 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. This sets up a rare, four-pronged factoid: This marks the first time that an album, and also a single from the album, have reached #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. since Rihanna scored with Unapologetic and “Diamonds.” It’s the first time that a male solo artist has achieved this transatlantic double play since Kanye West scored in 2007 with Graduation and “Stronger.”