Madonna’s “MDNA” had a big debut on last week’s Billboard chart, selling 359,000 copies its first week, but the set is about to crash hard on this week’s chart: Rolling Stone (via Forbes) says “MDNA” will fall to around 46,000 copies its second week, an 88 percent tank job, representing the biggest second-week sales decline in the history of Nielsen SoundScan.
Everybody now: Ouch.
First off, some perspective: While the dubious honor is no doubt embarrassing, second week sales of 46K should lodge “MDNA” squarely in the bottom half of Billboard’s Top 10, so “MDNA” won’t go down like the crash-and-burn of Incubus’ 2006 set “Light Grenades,” which debuted at No. 1 then fell to No. 37 its second week, the biggest chart fall from No. 1 in Billboard history. (Other sets that fell hard: Marilyn Manson’s “Golden Age of Grotesque,” which fell from No. 1 to No. 21 in 2003, and Nine Inch Nails’ “The Fragile,” which dipped from No. 1 to No. 16 in 1999.) And while the sales disgrace will certainly give Madonna haters a reason to crow her No. 1 last week was unearned — her first-week sales were bolstered by a tie-in where fans were allowed to pre-order copies of “MDNA” along with tickets to the Material Girl’s upcoming concerts — it is ridiculous to think enough of those fans wouldn’t have bought her album in stores to make it No. 1 anyway. (The math goes like this: Of “MDNA’s” 359,000 first-week sales, around 185,000 came from the ticket deal (source), bringing her “actual” sales down to 174,000 (please note the quotes and italics), which would have made her No. 2 behind Lionel Ritchie’s “Tuskegee,” which sold 199,000 copies. The issue was debated last week at length by Billboard’s Bill Werde on his Tumblr.)
So if nothing else, it turns out Madonna still court a fair amount of controversy. So to that we say, Welcome Back!