Feb 9, 2011

Nicki Minaj Hits No. 1 on Billboard 200, Crosses 1 Million Sales (video)

I am a little late getting on the Nicki Minaj train, mostly because I started listening to podcasts instead of the radio when I drive so I'm on a slight delay when it comes to pop these days.   When she came on my radar, it was because of her clothing and hair, not her music- although I probably know a lot of her stuff if I heard it, I don't think I could tell you who was singing.   Apparently I need to catch up and fast- she just crossed a million sales!

Nicki Minaj crowns the Billboard 200 albums chart for the first time, as her "Pink Friday" set steps 3-1 in its 11th week on the list (45,000; up 18% per Nielsen SoundScan). "Pink" also pushes past the 1 million total sales mark this week -- 1,035,000 total since its Nov. 22, 2010 release.   "Pink Friday" initially debuted at No. 2 and has since spent its entire chart life in the top 10.

Minaj's patient wait for her turn at No. 1 is a rare sight. For the most part, an album is only No. 1 because it debuted there. It's unusual for a set to climb to the top. Case in point: in 2010, there were 30 albums that hit No. 1, but just one -- Lil Wayne's "I Am Not A Human Being" -- actually rose to the top. Wayne debuted at No. 2 off of just downloads, then fell to No. 16 the next week, only to reach No. 1 the next once the CD version of the album dropped. 

Video above: Nicki talks "Pink Friday" with Billboard.com

Before "Friday's" ascent to the top, the last album to take longer to rise to No. 1 was way back on the chart dated March 5, 2005, when Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" finally hit No. 1 in its 25th week. It zoomed 15-1 with 224,000 (up 202%) following its Grammy win for album of the year.

Minaj's 18% sales gain could be attributed to sustained impact from her "Saturday Night Live" guest turn on Jan. 30, in addition to some surprising viral love from confessed fans Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. The latter ladies can be found -- separately -- on YouTube rapping to the "Pink Friday" cut "Super Bass." The two most popular clips have racked up more than 2 million views in the five days they've been online.

Last week's No. 1, Amos Lee's "Mission Bell," falls way down to No. 26 with 15,000 (down 62%). That's a larger positional drop than the one experienced by Cake's "Showroom of Compassion," which collapsed 1-25 three weeks ago.

Rock band Red debuts in the runner-up slot this week with its "Until We Have Faces" set, and at No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart. It bows with 43,000 -- a bigger start than the 39,000 that greeted its second album, 2009's "Innocence & Instinct," upon its No. 15 entry on the Billboard 200.

Ricky Martin returns to the Billboard 200 with the mostly-Spanish studio set "Musica + Alma + Sexo" starting at No. 3 with 32,000. His last effort, 2005's "Life," began at No. 6 with 73,000. "Musica" is his first Spanish studio offering since "Almas Del Silencio" in 2003, which launched at No. 12 with 65,000. "Musica" is the highest charting primarily-Spanish language set since Selena's No. 1 album "Dreaming Of You" spent its first three chart weeks lodged in the top three (Aug. 5 through Aug. 19, 1995).

At No. 4, Bruno Mars' "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" rises one slot (just under 32,000; down 3%) while Rihanna's "Loud" rallies 13-5 (29,000; up 15%). "Kidz Bop 19" is up three to No. 6 (28,000; down 7%), Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" skips 12-7 (27,000; up 5%) and Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" falls one to No. 8 (also with almost 27,000; down 13%). Closing out the top 10 albums are P!nk's "Greatest Hits ... So Far!!!" up two to No. 9 (25,000; down 6%) and Eminem's "Recovery" ascends 16-10 (just under 25,000; up 18%). It's a tight top 10 -- Nos. 3-10 are separated by just 6,696 units.

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Dr. Dre bows at No. 1 with "I Need a Doctor" (featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey), selling 226,000 downloads. "Doctor" follows Dre's "Kush," which premiered at No. 36 in December with just 45,000; earning its best week in the following stanza, with 67,000 at No. 22.

Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow" earns a 6% gain -- no doubt spurred on by Super Bowl action -- while holding at No. 2 with 198,000 while P!nk's "F**kin' Perfect" falls from 1-3 with 187,000 (down 22%).

Chris Brown's "Look At Me Now" (featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes) starts at No. 4 with 158,000. It's the best sales week for Brown since his "No Air" duet with Jordin Sparks shifted 153,000 in April of 2008. "Look At Me Now" is also Brown's first top 10 hit on the Digital Songs chart his 2008 Summer Olympics song "Dreamer" debuted at No. 5 in August of that year.

Mars' "Grenade" slips 3-5 (141,000; down 15%), Enrique Iglesias' "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)" falls 5-6 (124,000; down 13%) and Katy Perry's "Firework" drops 6-7 (121,000; down 10%). Far*East Movement's "Rocketeer" holds at No. 8 (117,000; down 7%), Pitbull's "Hey Baby" falls 4-9 (116,000; down 7%) and Diddy Dirty Money's "Coming Home" (featuring Grey) slides 7-10 (112,000; down 14%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Feb. 6) totaled 5.5 million units, up 4% compared to the sum last week (5.3 million) and down 18% compared to the comparable sales week of 2010 (6.7 million). Year to date album sales stand at 26.3 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (30.7 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.6 million downloads, down less than 1% compared to last week (24.7 million) and up 2% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (24.1 million). Year to date track sales are at 132.9 million, up 4% compared to the same total at this point last year (128.1 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2010 when:Sade's "Soldier of Love" marched in at No. 1 with a whopping 502,000.Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" slid from the top slot to No. 2 with 208,000 (down 1%).

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