Finally, the numbers are in. Kanye West’s “Graduation” is the #1 album in the country selling 957,000 copies in its first week according to Billboard. 50 Cent grabs the #2 spot on the charts selling 691,000 copies and country star Kenny Chesney is at #3 selling 387,000 copies. To put things in perspective, when Talib Kweli was #2 on the charts in August, he only moved 60,000 copies.
This week’s album sales are the largest the industry has seen in two years and Kanye’s album sales is the largest by any album since 50 Cent’s The Massacre dropped in 2005, moving 1.1 million copies in its first week. Kanye’s album also set a new record for digital downloads by selling 133,000 digital album downloads beating the old record of 102,000 by Maroon 5. 50 Cent’s album only had 58,000 digital album sales this week. To add insult to injury, Kanye is also #1 on the
50 Cent is already crying foul with the numbers though. In an interview with the LA Times, 50 said Def Jam, Kanye’s label, isn’t playing fair.
"I think the perception on some levels would be that Kanye West is generating more interest than 50 Cent regardless of actual record sales," 50 said. "He’s never had a fraction of the sales 50 Cent has. So when you see him come out and it’s like they were close? They could have one scan and have it count four times."
But in the same LA Times story, Billboard’s director of charts Geoff Mayfield that there are safeguards in place that prevent market rigging so it’ll hardly be the case.
"The problem is, you’re spending real money to post an artificial sale," Mayfield said. "I don’t know of a single instance where someone paid to make an album look bigger and it ended up becoming a bigger hit."