Will sales of Lady Gaga’s new “ArtPop” album exceed this week’s Eminem debut of around 750,ooo? It’s unlikely. Gaga has a big problem. While “ArtPop” is number 1 right now, it has no hit single. What’s driving the Eminem album is his hit “The Monster” with Rihanna. It’s number 1 following the path of Katy Perry’s “Roar” which is still high on the charts.
But the highest charting single so far from “ArtPop” is “Applause” at 13 on iTunes. Her R Kelly duet, “Do What U Want,” is further down at 23. This suggests that while Lady Gaga certainly has devoted fans, she’s not reaching beyond them with a big breakout song. And that’s where her album sales may break off.
Gaga is getting help again from Amazon. The massive retailer is selling the MP3 download for “ArtPop”, clean or dirty, for just $5.99. That’s three to four dollars lower than most other albums. Arcade Fire’s new “Reflektor” album MP3 for $11.99. Miley Cyrus’s “Bangerz” album is selling for $3.99.
Of course, Amazon.com deep discounts most MP3 downloads. Their audience typically buys physical CDs. On Amazon, the actual CDs are often offered with a free MP3 download.
That’s because the real downloading goes on at iTunes, Amazon’s competitor. Amazon’s audience skews older, so their exposure isn’t a question. For example, they’re selling the explicit (lots of the f word) version of Eminem’s new album for just $3.99.
In 2010, Amazon got into trouble for selling Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” for just 99 cents. A rule went into place immediately that only albums selling for $3.49 or more would be counted in the weekly charts by SoundScan.