Lady Gaga's Born This
Way racked up more than 1.1 million physical and digital copies in its
first week of sales, setting a new high in digital sales thanks to her genius
99-cent promotion on Amazon.com, which offered the bombastic performer's album for
that bargain basement price for one day only on May 23.
As if that wasn't incentive enough, the Seattle online retailer added a gift with purchase - each download came with 20 GB of cloud storage. The scheme worked since Amazon alone accounted for more than 440,000 of the 662,000 digital downloads according to Billboard, giving Gaga the biggest first-week sales since 50 Cent's The Massacre soared to the top spot on Billboard Top 200 in 2005. This makes Born This Way the 17th album to sell a million copies in a single week since 1991 when Nielsen's SoundScan started tracking those numbers.
As for Amazon? They lost money on the scheme. According to a report from the Associated Press, the online behemoth still had to pay the full wholesale price to the Universal Music Group for each copy of Born This Way. But chalk it up to the cost of doing business; it was a high profile way to promote their new cloud services.