Following Frank Ocean’s very personal admission on his Tumblr and a high-profile performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week, Def Jam released his major-label debut Channel Orange a week early on July 10 as an iTunes exclusive.
While that move may have angered Target, which is protesting the early digital release by not carrying the physical album (discs officially hit retailers yesterday), Ocean probably isn’t too worried about it. Channel Orange sold an impressive 131,000 copies (3,000 of which were actually CDs) in its first week. As Billboard notes, his sales are in line with recent R&B/hip-hop debuts from Usher (Looking 4 Myself, 128,000) and Chris Brown (Fortune, 135,000).
Some of the initial interest undoubtedly comes from Ocean’s recent revelation that his first love was a man, but reviews – including EW’s – have largely been enthusiastic, and have little to do with his expressed sexuality.
That marks the best sales week ever for the country titans, whose last set, 2010’s You Get What You Give, sold 153,000 copies in its first week. Uncaged’s performance is even more impressive considering its lead single “The Wind” has only been out for five weeks and sits at number 17 on the country songs chart. The set was given a big bump by a special $3.99 sale on Amazon MP3.
Justin Bieber’s Believe dipped 35 percent into third place with 45,000 copies sold in its fourth week. The pop album has sold 604,000 total albums in the States. Chris Brown’s Fortune fell 67 percent to 45,000 in its sophomore week and has now sold 177,000 total. Rounding out the Top 5 was Maroon 5’s Overexposed, which fell 45 percent to 44,000 and has now sold 334,000 copies after three weeks.
In milestone news, Adele’s 21 spent its 73rd week in the Top 10 (8th place, 35,000), giving it the most weeks in the Top 10 for any album by a female artist. Alanis Morissette previously held the distinction with Jagged Little Pill, which spent 72 frames in the Top 10.
What do you think? Surprised by Ocean’s strong debut? Even more surprised by ZBB’s selling power?
More on EW.com:
Frank Ocean opens up about his sexuality
Target will not carry Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’
EW Review: Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’
EW Review: Zac Brown Band’s ‘Uncaged’
Zac Brown Band release new single ‘The Wind’