Okay, it's official: Susan Boyle has the No. 1 album in the country. Her covers album, I Dreamed a Dream, sold 701,000 copies, setting all kinds of impressive-sounding records: the most sold in a week this year (beating Eminem’s Relapse); the most sold in a week since October 2008 (when AC/DC’s Black Ice did 784,000); the second-highest number for a debut artist in SoundScan's eighteen-year history (Snoop’s Doggystyle had 803,000); and the most sold by a debut female artist ever in the SoundScan era. She also topped new releases from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus, plus recent stuff from John Mayer, Norah Jones, and even freakin’ Andrea Bocelli.
Look, we realize Boyle’s a singular phenomenon — the heartwarming backstory, the built-in television market, a demographic that presumably skews toward older, non-music-pirating types — but we didn’t see this kind of crush coming. Doesn’t every American Idol product have every one of Boyle’s qualifications to some degree? (For the record, Adam Lambert’s For Your Entertainment sold 198,000 copies this week, and Kris Allen’s self-titled debut managed 80,000 last week.) Wasn’t Boyle on a British reality-TV show? Didn’t she lose on that show? Wasn’t her first single a song previously available, in arguably better form?
What we’re ignoring is that, much more than the ex-Idols, Boyle really exists in a file-sharing-free world — how many copies of Dream do you figure were illegally downloaded? While Boyle’s first-week numbers would perhaps have been roughly the same ten years ago, Eminem and friends' would probably have been double. Something for the rest of the Billboard 200 to take heart in while Susan is having a new hot tub installed.
Susan Boyle Sees 'Dream' Soar To No. 1 On Billboard 200 [Billboard]