Apple announced on Monday that BEYONCÉ, the self-titled fifth album from the pop star, sold 828,773 copies in the first three days it was available. The album was released as an iTunes-exclusive, and Apple said it is the fastest selling album in history at the iTunes Store.
While Beyoncé—the wife of entertainment mogul Jay-Z—is an international success, almost 3/4 of those sales came from the U.S. Apple said 617,213 units were sold through the U.S. store, but that the album was still number one in 104 countries, a staggering achievement for any music act.
BEYONCÉ has been heavily promoted by Apple, which has gone so far as to feature it in every slot in the promotional carousel at the top of the iTunes Store. To my knowledge, that's an unprecedented promotional move by Apple, and suggests that getting the iTunes exclusive was an expensive proposition.
iTunes Store Carousel - All Beyoncé, All The Time
Major music retailers have been using exclusive releases for years to bring customers through the door, but the practice has been heating up in recent years. Garth Brooks, for instance, released a boxed set exclusively through Walmart this Thanksgiving, but Apple and Walmart have both been quite good at wielding their clout as the top music retailers to score numerous exclusives.
BEYONCÉ is officially being called a "visual album" on iTunes, as it is comprised of 14 new songs and, "17 visually stunning, provocative videos shot around the world from Houston to New York City to Paris, and Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, all before the album’s release."
Here's the kicker for this story: while the above-mentioned results were the fastest-selling album in iTunes Store history, Apple said that the album represents Beyoncé's biggest sales week ever, too, and she was a super star back when CDs ruled the roost.
A pop star with mass appeal having her biggest week ever selling her album exclusively through iTunes shows just how far the music world has shifted towards Apple.