SoundScanner: Did Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP Top Born This Way?

Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP crashes the chart this week, but doesn’t measure up to her previous sales monster. Elsewhere on this week’s chart, Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP 2 continues to sell well while fans learn to cope without new material from Rihanna. That and more in this week’s SoundScanner:

’ARTPOP’ hits No. 1: Well, ARTPOP is no Born This Way. Lady Gaga’s third album debuts at No. 1 this week but it does so with about 77 percent fewer sales than her last album; ARTPOP sold 258,000 copies its first week in stores, a far cry from the 1.1 million sales Born This Way racked up in 2011. (Born This Way’s sales included copies sold through a 99-cent promotion, but still.) Gaga’s sales also came below recent debuts by fellow pop divas Katy Perry (Prism debuted with 286,000 sales last month) and Miley Cyrus’ (Bangerz did 270,000). ARTPOP gets a better start than Gaga’s The Fame Monster EP, which sold 174,000 copies its first week in 2009, although that tally has an asterisk: that same week, a bundle which combined sales of The Fame and The Fame Monster sold 151,000, bringing the total of the two versions to 325,000.

Beatles arrive on chart: What did better this week, a collection of more than 60 unreleased Beatles live tracks, or a compilation of songs by Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and Lana Del Rey that have individually already racked up millions of downloads? Don’t be surprised, but Now That’s What I Call Music! 48 comes in at No. 3 on this week’s chart, selling 114,000 copies, while the Fab Four’s On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 starts out at No. 7 with 37,000 sales. Other top 20 debuts come from R&B singer-songwriter Jhene Aiko’s Sail Out EP (No. 8, 34,000), Kellie Pickler’s The Woman I Am (No. 19, 16,000) and the Killers’ greatest hits set Direct Hits (No. 20, 16,000).

Eminem hangs on: Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 drops to No. 2 this week, selling 210,000 copies and pushing past the platinum sales marker in just two weeks of release. The sequel to 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP fell 73 percent its second week, a better hold than other recent hip-hop superstar sets (Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail slipped 76 percent its second week, while Kanye West’s Yeezus fell 80 percent). He also continues to sell well in the singles arena; his duet with Rihanna, “The Monster,” is No. 1 on SoundScan’s Digital Songs chart this week, selling 243,000 downloads, up 62 percent from last week. In all, Em logs eight tracks on this week’s Digital Songs chart, seven of which are from MMLP2. The other? Perennial favorite “Lose Yourself,” which has sold close to 5.8 million downloads since its 2002 release.

Rihanna’s ’Unapologetic’ year: Rihanna gets half the credit for Eminem’s “The Monster” topping this week’s Digital Songs chart, and this week also marks the one-year anniversary of Unapologetic’s arrival on the chart. Usually now is about the time Rihanna would be charting with a new album, but this marks the first year since 2008 that the singer hasn’t released a new set of tunes. Unapologetic comes in at No. 121 on this week’s chart and has sold 1.12 million copies to date. The album has also launched six singles; the latest offering, “What Now,” has sold 228,000 downloads (it’s No. 46 this week) while “Stay” (No. 118) has sold 3.8 million downloads, “Diamonds” sold more than 3 million downloads and “Pour It Up” sold more than 1.1 million downloads.

Avicii finds singles success: “Wake Me Up,” the smash hit from Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, is still entrenched in the Top 10 of the Digital Songs chart; it’s No. 6 this week, and has sold 2.8 million copies to date. The artist’s next single, “Hey Brother,” hit the chart last week; it’s No. 149 this week, up from No. 196 last week. But his album, True, is languishing; this week it’s No. 94, down from No. 64 last week. The album has sold 117,000 copies since it was released nine weeks ago. Avicii is gaining trust with listeners as a singles artist, but has some ground to make up in the album arena.