When the months-long marketing push ended, Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way became only the 17th album in history to sell over one million copies in its first week of release, joining albums from Britney Spears, Eminem, and *NSYNC.
Second-week sales, however, proved less rosy: Without Amazon’s deep discount (the retailer moved 443,000 digital copies at 99 cents apiece), Born remained on top of the Billboard album chart but suffered a record drop-off of 85 percent, with 174,000 copies sold. (For comparison, Taylor Swift‘s 2010 release Speak Now — also platinum in its first week — fell 70 percent in week 2.) According to one industry analyst, the sales of the album are beside the point. ”It’s a huge success,” explains Aram Sinnreich, Rutgers University media professor. ”Lady Gaga needed that number one as bragging rights in order to bolster the superstar image that is her real bread and butter.”
While Gaga’s reign at the top is over for now (Adele‘s 21 is back at No. 1), her single ”The Edge of Glory” is picking up steam on radio and should get another boost when its video premieres in a few weeks.