Jay-Z-Kanye West collab sets single-week iTunes sales record

Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne” made a princely and predictable bow at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart last week with the second-best debut sales of the year.

The rap superstars’ Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam/Roc Nation collaboration shifted 436,000 units out of the box, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ended Aug. 14. The only 2011 release to outdo that figure is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which topped the chart after a 1.1 million-unit week in June.

Thanks to a four-day exclusive window on iTunes, “Throne” racked up 290,000 digital units, breaking a one-week record set at the Apple store by Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” in 2008.

However, the absence of a physical package for most of the set’s debut week may have eroded overall sales: The album failed to match debut numbers for the last solo projects by either Hova or Yeezy.

It was a pleasant week for the Shawn Carter clan: Jay-Z’s missus Beyonce climbed to No. 7 with her former No. 1 entry “4” (Columbia). Set tracked 27,000 (down 22%) for the stanza, still good for a one-slot gain.

Distant runner-up on the week’s chart as Luke Bryan’s “Tailgates and Tanlines,” which arrived at No. 2 with 145,000 sold. Georgia-born country singer’s previous best came in 2009, when “Doin’ My Thing” reached No. 6. Bryan displaced fellow Capitol Nashville artist Eric Church, whose “Chief” fell three notches to No. 5 on a 37,000-unit week.

The 39th edition of compilation “Now That’s What I Call Music” rode in at No. 3 with 110,000 moved. Capitol-distributed package contains chart hits by Gaga, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, LMFAO and others.

In the face of heavy competish, perpetual contender Adele’s “21” (Columbia) dropped to No. 4 from No. 1 with a 73,000-unit count (down just 4%).

Week’s only other major debut was rapper Ace Hood’s “Blood Sweat + Tears” (We the Best/Def Jam), which arrived at No. 8 on sales of 26,000. Florida-born member of DJ Khaled’s posse previously peaked at No. 23 with 2009’s “Ruthless.”

Other top 10 holdovers included Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” (No. 6, 36,000 sold, off 13%), Jackie Evancho’s “Dream With Me” (No. 9, 26,000, up 53%) and “Kidz Bop 20” (No. 10, 25,000, down 32%).

The coming week’s debuts will include a highly publicized set by actor-singer Jeff Bridges.

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