by R. Asmerom
Even though Drake’s debut album “Thank Me Later” has set a record for being one of the most anticipated albums of all time (hard to measure we know), Billboard.com is forecasting first week sales to be in the 425,000-470,00 range. It’s a stellar debut for a relatively new artist and it will rank as one of the best debuts of 2010, but it falls slightly short of the overly-hyped expectations for the Young Money king.
Sure, Drake’s album was leaked about two weeks ago but in a time when some record companies and marketers actually leak albums themselves to generate good publicity, who is to say that someone within Drake’s camp didn’t leak it as part of a marketing ploy?
Steve Raze of AllHipHop.com had a slightly different take: “Leaking an album, depending on who you are, usually has a negative effect on sales,” he said. “The leak could hurt his sales slightly but the release of the singles helped him because he had so many good singles and big names on his album that the music created more buzz and anticipation for his album.”
Drake’s album sales are especially interesting because they could serve to shed light on the health of the recording industry. If the most anticipated album of the year can’t go platinum in a week, what does that say about the future of paying for music.
“It’s a different time and space,” said Gail Mitchell of Billboard.com “The last rap album, according to Nielsen Soundscan, to sell a million in its first week was Lil Wayne’s The Carter III in June of 2008. In that two year time, the industry has changed a lot and sales aren’t where they used to be overall so for Drake to being doing anything in the 400,000 range despite a leak says something to the whole fact that if you got a strong album and you got strong songs on an album, people will buy it.”
Drake’s sales can also illuminate consumer consumption of music. “It would be more interesting to see his digital sales and how that compares with the CD sales,” said Raze. “The hope for the recording industry is that it can successfully sell digital units in this changing landscape of music.”
The last rap albums to go platinum in their first week include:
Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III (2008) sold 1 million
50 Cent’s The Massacre (2005) sold 1.4 million
Kanye West’s Graduation (2007) sold 957,000
All-Time Record Holder:
Eminem’s Marshall Mathers (2000) sold 1.8 million