Yesterday there were rumblings that Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV–the hyperactive MC’s newest album, which dropped shortly after he closed out last month’s Video Music Awards–had indeed sold more than a million copies in its first week out, the way that its predecessor in the Carter series did back in 2008. Its sales didn’t quite reach the seven-figure mark, but the final tally is still impressive: IV scanned 964,000 copies in its first week out, the second-best sales week of 2011.
The highest single-week sales mark of the year was notched in May by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which rode a whirlwind promotional campaign and Amazon’s decision to deeply discount digital copies of the album to 1.11 million scans in its first week. 662,000 digital copies of the Gaga album were sold in that timeframe, and high digital sales figured heavily into Carter‘s success as well; SoundScan says that 362,000 digital copies of the album sold last week, a number that was no doubt helped by the big BUY THIS ALBUM ON ITUNES graphic splashed across the heavily watched VMA telecast’s finale. There are probably more than a few lessons to be learned from this successful-beyond-all-estimations rollout, the most important of which is: Reminding people that records are available for purchase in places that are kind of convenient to them can actually serve as a helpful inducement to buy said products. I know! It’s crazy!