Friday, September 2, 2011

Lil Wayne Just Smashed the First-Week iTunes Sales Record...

The question is whether this starts to change album release timings. According to details just shared by Cash Money and Universal Republic, Lil Wayne just scored the best first-week album sales total on iTunes in history. The album sold more than 300,000 units since debuting immediately after the MTV Video Music Awards last Sunday - and the accomplishment happened after just four days. The rest of the first-week total will come from rival download stores and physical.

The record also says a lot about the iTunes platform. The previous record is merely two weeks old, set by The Throne, a rapid relinquish that suggests lots more record-smashing ahead. And, growing interest on the paid download side - even after all these years.

But this seems to be happening at the expense of physical. Watch the Throne ultimately posted a physical return that was arguably disappointing, despite unique release timings, considerable pre-release hype, and a Best Buy exclusive. And, this is Jay-Z and Kanye West we're talking about, which raises the possibility that Wayne could produce a more lopsided digital total as well (let's see).

Back to the timing question: does this mean that everyone should reorganize their release schedule to coincide with an event, to capture consumer interest at its peak? That's probably case-by-case at this point, though the Tuesday release day is getting more and more antiquated by the week. Stocking physical shelves and coordinating deliveries is far less important, even for mega-retailers like Best Buy.

On the measurement side, Soundscan cares about predictable release periods, because it's so much easier to analyze. But consumers increasingly have no idea what we're talking about.

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