Sources say Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Watch the Throne" broke the U.S. iTunes Store's one-week sales record last week when it sold nearly 290,000 downloads via the retailer through Sunday night (Aug. 14).
The set was exclusively available through iTunes from Aug. 8-11 before going on sale at all digital and physical retailers on Friday, Aug. 12.
"Watch the Throne" surpasses the previous one-week iTunes record, set when Coldplay's 2008 album "Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends" shifted 282,000 in its first week. (The album sold 288,000 total downloads in its first week, including sales from all other retailers.)
"Watch the Throne's" overall official first-week sales -- digital and physical combined -- will be released by Nielsen SoundScan on Wednesday morning. Currently, it's looking to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with around the 410,000-450,000. That's a downgrade from the 500,000-start that some industry pundits had predicted.
However, as noted last week, predicting "Watch the Throne's" first week is tricky because of its unique release rollout.
Traditionally, albums drop to all retailers on Tuesdays. However, "Watch the Throne" secured a Monday street date, but only through iTunes. Thus, normal projection models -- based on all versions of an album hitting retailers on Tuesday -- are thrown out the window.
It does perhaps point to how "Watch the Throne's" initial digital offering could have softened its interest among physical-CD consumers. The true test of the album's sales will come in its second week, when it will have a full chart week's worth of both physical and digital sales under its belt.
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