People Who Are Addicted To Music
Kanye West’s Yeezus, due Tuesday on Def Jam, is expected to sell 500,000 copies its first week.
“That’s what industry forecasters suggest,” says Keith Caulfield, Billboard‘s associate director of charts/retail. “It’s difficult to a degree to predict an album’s sales until it actually goes on sale, but the closer you to are to the release date, the better you can tell. It’s like a weather forecast.”
The half-million mark would put the rapper’s sixth studio album in the same ballpark as previous releases. Watch the Throne, 2011’s collaboration with Jay-Z, opened with 436,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. West’s two most recent solo albums enjoyed similar launches: 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with 496,000, and 2008’s 808s & Heartbreak with 450,000. Both were released during Thanksgiving week.
“They had a big holiday and Christmas to drive sales, and you don’t have that now,” Caulfield says, adding wryly, “Plus, he’s missing the Father’s Day window.”
What may boost Yeezus is its air of secrecy and unconventional marketing. So far, the album has not leaked.
“Nobody knows what it sounds like,” Caulfield says. “There’s no single, no video, no formal promotional rollout. The album kind of drops out of the sky with some mystery and excitement that can drive interest.”
In the year’s album race, Yeezus sales of 500,000 copies would place West ahead of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, which sold 339,000 copies its first week. The tally would fall far short of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, which opened atop the chart in March with 968,000 copies, leaving West in second place.
That may not satisfy the rapper’s outsized ego. In a New York Times interview, he dubbed himself the Michael Jordan of music and the Steve Jobs of “downtown, fashion, culture.” On Wednesday, he posted a clip on his website declaring, “I am a god.”
On the album chart, he is a runner-up.