Kanye’s First Week “Donda” Numbers Miss Predictions As Halsey New Release Actually Sells More Copies

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It’s a tough game this album dropping business.

Kanye West carried on all summer about “Donda,” then complained that his record company released the music without his permission. (I doubt that’s true.)

The result of all this mishegos is that “Donda” first week sales were good enough to hit number 1, but less than expected.

“Donda” sold a total of 325,000 copies, which was 25K less than the prediction. Of that total only 44,311 were actual paid downloads. The rest was all streaming. In paid sales, Kanye lost to Halsey, whose new album “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power,” sold a whopping 74,000 copies in downloads and CDs.

Halsey was actually number 1. Her fans have her music stored in their phones and computers. Kanye’s passively listened without committing emotionally. Or financially.

Kanye’s big problem is no singles. Although individual tracks streamed in big numbers the first couple of days, no individual song broke out of the pack. For an album to penetrate the audience and have legs, separate songs have to catch on. This has not happened.

Drake was smart. He sampled the Beatles, guaranteeing him something of a hit with his “Champagne Poetry.”

But this is what happens when you stall and stall and lie and carry on and don’t communicate with your record company. Kanye’s done it before and he’ll do it again.

“Donda” has already fallen to number 5 on iTunes. Hang on, the bigger drop is coming.


Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of “Only the Strong Survive,” a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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