This week, Madonna’s MDNA earns the distinction of the largest second-week percentage sales drop for a No. 1-debuting album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. The album slides from No. 1 to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with a 86.7% sales decline (falling from 359,000 to 48,000 according to SoundScan).
The percentage dip surpasses the record set by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, when it fell 84.27% in its second week on the chart dated June 18, 2011.
Born This Way bowed the previous frame at No. 1 with 1.11 million, and then sold 174,000 in its second week at the top of the chart. Born This Way’s debut was amplified by Amazon MP3’s decision to offer the set at 99 cents twice on two separate days during its premiere week.
MDNA’s large fall was expected, as its debut was bolstered by sales gained from a concert ticket/album promotion as well as preorders from iTunes. Further, without a current hit single on our major airplay charts nor any substantial recent promotion on Madonna’s part, the drop was bound to be significant.
Both MDNA and Born This Way would have not had such steep drops, had it not been for unusually enhanced first-week sales.
While MDNA has the biggest drop for a No. 1-debuting set in SoundScan history, it’s actually the second-biggest fall for a top 10-bowing album. The largest second-week collapse for a top 10-debut was for the rock compilation titled The Edge on April 10, 2010.
It sold 53,000 when it bowed at No. 4 and then fell by 87.2% to 7,000 (No. 81) in its second week. The Razor & Tie compilation saw its sizable first week sales generated by a direct-response TV ad campaign and preorders.
Most superstar albums that start at or near the top of the chart fall by 60% to 80% in their second week. And, high-debuting sets that are especially front-loaded by pre-orders, niche fanbases or unusual marketing campaigns take harder hits.