SoundScanner: More Like Magna Carta Holy Sales!

Jay-Z notches another No. 1 on his belt —a belt that’s sure to be running out of space at this point— as his Magna Carta Holy Grail tops this week’s Nielsen SoundScan sales chart. Meanwhile, the summer of “Blurred Lines” continues as Robin Thicke dominates the singles side of things yet again. #SoundScanner investigates:
Jay-Z’s lucky No. 13: Is there any way an album as opulently titled as Magna Carta Holy Grail would not hit No. 1? Jay-Z’s latest marks the rapper’s 13th chart-topper, as the set sold a robust 527,000 copies its first week. The album was, of course, first made available through a Samsung app on July 4, and there was plenty of industry debate about how to weigh those sales. Forget all the talk of the Recording Industry Association of America certifying the album as platinum upon its arrival; the RIAA measures shipments, not actual sales. As it stands, Magna Carta is the second-fastest seller of the year, behind only Jay’s current tourmate, Justin Timberlake, whose The 20/20 Experience sold 968,000 copies its first week back in spring. (Congrats to Timbaland, who produced the bulk of both sets.) Magna Carta marks Jay-Z’s fourth best career sales start, behind Kingdom Come (680,000), The Dynasty: Roc la Familia (558,000) and The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse (545,000).

Ciara, Skylar Grey make a splash: Atlanta “Crunk&B” songstress Ciara debuts in this week’s runner-up spot with her self-titled fourth album, which sold 59,000 copies its first week. The album, the “Goodies” singer’s fourth, makes a better bow than her last album Basic Instinct, which debuted at No. 44 and sold 37,000 copies upon its arrival. The week’s other Top 10 debut comes from Skylar Grey, whose Don’t Look Down lands at No. 8. The singer, who penned “Love the Way You Lie” for Eminem and Rihanna which lead to her being an in-demand hip-hop hook writer and singer, sold 24,000 copies of her Interscope records debut, which marks her first album under the name Skylar Grey (she released an album as Holly Brook in 2006).

#THICKE summer continues: Over on the Digital Songs chart, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” sails past the 3 million sales marker and holds the No. 1 position yet again. The summer smash added another 384,000 sales to its tally, down 9 percent from last week, but still a healthy 168,000 copies ahead of the week’s second place finisher, Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” (216,000 this week, 1.1 million total). Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail” arrives at No. 3 with 196,000 single sales, but elsewhere the Top 10 remains largely unchanged from last week.

Island sales lonely: It’s definitely lonely out here for comedy troupe The Lonely Island, who find sales of their third set The Wack Album lost at sea. After five weeks on the chart, the album dips to No. 164 this week with total sales of 45,000. (To compare, the group’s 2009 debut, Incredibad, sold 48,000 copies its first week.) The new album’s got all the right guests, from Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake to Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar. But with no SNL engine or Digital Shorts to propel sales, the set is adrift.

Church still rolling: A week shy of its second full year on the charts, Eric Church’s Chief, which debuted at No. 1 on the chart back in July 2011, is still winning converts. The album is No. 71 on this week’s chart with sales of 4,600 copies, bringing its total sales to 1.59 million. The country rocker has been a steady presence on the road and has built a sizable live following, and he documented his live show on this year’s live album Caught in the Act. Church is currently on the road with Kenny Chesney’s annual summer extravaganza, and he plays Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival Aug. 3.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]