Despite breaking iTunes records, Grammy-winning rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s new Watch the Throne album first-week projections have dipped significantly below 500,000 units.
Based on new reports, the duo’s new LP is en route to debut with around 425,000 first-week sold copies.
Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Roc-a-Fella/Roc Nation album Watch the Throne broke the U.S. iTunes one-week sales record with nearly 290k downloads through Sunday night (8/14). The set was exclusively available at the Apple store from Aug. 8-11 before going on sale at digital and physical retailers Friday (8/12). The previous one-week iTunes record was set by Coldplay’s 2008 album Viva La Vida, which moved 282k in its first week, and a total of 288k from all other digital retailers. With physical sales falling off over the weekend, Watch the Throne will debut at #1 tomorrow with 425k, which is less than had been predicted. Fully 75% of the total sales will be digital, including Ticketmaster, which is offering the option of a digital copy with every ticket purchased for the upcoming tour. (HITS Daily Double)
This week, Def Jam president Steve Bartels defended the label’s decision to premiere their album digitally.
While the iTunes and Best Buy exclusives rankled many independent and chain retailers (Billboard, Aug. 6), Island DefJam president/COO Steve Bartels says the album will reap dividends by going to digital first. “It is similar a bit to the ’90s model of direct-response TV marketing in advance of actual physical release,” Bartels says. “Today, Internet and digital sales marketing can get the word out, efficiently selling a project in advance, eliminate people who steal music and bootleg, and drive the exposure for consumers to visit the stores when it is released.” (Billboard)
Last week, Def Jam’s Director of Digital Marketing Jycorri Robinson explained how the LP remained leak-free.
“Kanye and Jay are just very tight with the music,” he explained in an interview “Even so far as to where they’ve been, Kanye and Jay have been at every listening session, every event, that there has been and that’s because they’re holding that music so tight to them. There hasn’t been [any] copies floating around the [Def Jam] office ’cause that sh*t is in a vault. They just took it back to the old school, man. They recorded the entire album together; no verses emailed back and forth. It’s just tight eyes on it, only one or two people having access to it.” (XXL Mag)
A few days prior to its release, Jay’s manager John Meneilly promised the LP would not leak.
With less than a week to go before Watch the Throne hits iTunes, don’t expect any leaks. Those hoping to get their hands on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album early are in for disappointment. “It is not going to leak,” tweeted a confident John Meneilly, Jay-Z’s manager. In order to prevent the album from leaking in advance, digital and physical release dates were staggered. (Rap-Up)
Check out a recent Jay-Z interview below: