Beyonce’s surprise Internet release of a new album on Friday became an unexpected Yuletide bonanza for the record industry, as the singer’s self-titled set hit No. 1 on the U.S. album chart.
“Beyonce” shot to the top with sales of 617,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Dec. 15. It is the singer’s fifth consecutive No. 1 album; all five of her post-Destiny’s Child solo sets have reached the apex. The set had the fourth-best opening week among 2013 releases, trailing titles by Justin Timberlake, Eminem and Drake.
The tally for “Beyonce” represents just three days of exclusive sales at Apple’s iTunes Store. It shattered the previous one-week record for a title at the online retailer, shifting nearly 829,000 copies internationally. The pop-R&B star’s music-and-video bundle was launched on the Web without any advance fanfare. Physical copies of the title are expected to arrive at conventional retail outlets this week; Target has already announced that it will not sell the album.
Another exclusive item, Garth Brooks’ boxed set “Blame It All On My Roots,” slipped to No. 2 despite a 17% gain, moving 172,000. The country singer’s CD-DVD collection is being sold only at Walmart outlets.
In the wake of her NBC Christmas special, Kelly Clarkson’s holiday collection “Wrapped in Red” (RCA) received a 21% bump and claimed the No. 3 chart slot with a 136,000-unit total.
Two new titles slipped into the pre-holiday running. R&B star R. Kelly’s “Black Panties” (RCA) launched at No. 4, shifting 133,000. The set matches the peak of Kelly’s 2009 release “Untitled.”
Hip-hopper Childish Gambino’s “Because the Internet” (Glassnote) logged on at No. 7, moving 96,000. The performer, also known as actor-writer-comic Donald Glover, made his chart debut with the No. 11 release “Camp” in 2011.
The week’s top 10 holdovers included One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” (No. 5, 123,000 sold, up 5%), the Robertsons’ “Duck the Halls” (No. 6, 108,000, up 3%), Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” (No. 8, 83,000, down 1%) and Katy Perry’s “Prism” (No. 9, 59,000, up 15%).
The soundtrack for Disney’s animated feature “Frozen” arrived at No. 10 in its third chart week with a 56,000-unit frame.