In its first week of physical release, the rap pasha’s new set shifted 528,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending July 14. Initial prognostications envisioned a bow in the 400,000-unit range.
It was the year’s second-largest debut to date, topped only by Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” which entered with 968,000 in March. (Hova and Timberlake kick off a month of joint tour dates in Toronto tonight.)
“Magna Carta Holy Grail” rode to market on a unique promotion, in which the album was released exclusively to 1 million consumers early this month via a phone app for Samsung Galaxy. (The SoundScan figures do not reflect units “sold” as part of that promotion.) That fed intense interest across the Web: The title enjoyed the biggest first week for an album in Spotify’s U.S. history and generated over 14 million domestic streams.
Coming in a very distant No. 2 after the hip-hop mega-star, R&B singer Ciara placed with her self-titled new Epic release, which reaped first-week sales of 59,000. Despite its comparatively slim numbers, album’s debut represented a big bounce back from the vocalist’s 2010 collection “Basic Instinct” which bowed and peaked at No. 44 behind sales of 37,000.
The frame’s only other top-10 arrival was Skylar Grey’s “Don’t Look Down” (Interscope), which moved in at No. 8 with 24,000 moved out of the box. Originally known as Holly Brook, the vocalist has garnered attention for duets with Dr. Dre and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
Top-10 holdovers included J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” (No. 3, 40,000, down 32%), Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s to the Good Times” (No. 4, 33,000, up 5%), Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” (No. 5, 33,000, off 8%), Kanye West’s “Yeezus” (No. 6, 29,000, down 26%), Wale’s “The Gifted” (No. 7, 28,000, off 44%), Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” (No. 9, 23,000, down 17%) and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” (No. 10, 23,000, down 5%). The last two titles were separated by less than 500 units.
A new release by Sara Bareilles and the 24th installment of the “Kidz Bop” series are potential top-10 newcomers next week.