“Love” Is The Answer: Actually, Barbra Streisand Has The No. 1 Album This Week

Barbra Streisand’s Love Is The Answer has blown past early sales predictions, selling 180,000 copies and coming in as this week’s top-selling album, according to SoundScan. Paramore’s brand new eyes (175,000 copies) is at No. 2, while Mariah Carey’s Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (168,000 copies) bows at No. 3. And the key here, once again, would seem to be TV: Not only did Babs appear on Oprah, she hawked her album on QVC, which apparently gave her quite the direct-sales bump.

It’s also probably worth noting that Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel‘s first-week sales of 168,000 copies represent a 64% drop in inaugural-stretch sales from E=MC2, which moved 463,000 copies in its first week a mere 18 months ago. I guess becoming a drag king isn’t always the best idea for album promo? Someone get Jack McBrayer on the phone, stat!

Barbra Streisand Surprises With Ninth No. 1 Album On Billboard 200 [Billboard]
Earlier: Paramore Tops Album Chart, Barbra Snags Second Place

  • Chris Molanphy

    Ahem. Called it, about six weeks ago.

  • http://idolator.com/ Maura

    Conversation I just had with my sister, who is a part-time barista:

    “What are you doing?”
    “Writing… Barbra Streisand has the no. 1 album.”
    “Oh, that’s because we sold it at Starbucks.”

  • ObtuseIntolerant

    Well, blockbusterfree sales or not…the vying between the very-close top 3 this week was actually kinda exciting. I feel oddly satisfied with the outcome.

  • Thierry

    @Maura: That didn’t seem to do much for the ScarYorn album – they still had a neat pile of copies at my corner Starbucks.

    Also, 180,000 is pretty close to the 160,000 copies that Whitney sold after her Oprah appearance – and I suspect a lot of those people have both albums on their shelves now…

  • Chris Molanphy

    @Thierry: Very astute point — it’s been a great fall for middle-aged female fans of diva singing. And we’ve been saying for years now that 30-50something women remain the last reliable demographic buying physical albums, or albums in general.

    One more point I was discussing with Maura earlier: I believe HITS doesn’t capture direct-retail sales — read, QVC — in its early scans, which often leads to discrepancies when Billboard/Soundscan finalize the numbers on Wednesday. So I suspect QVC was the single biggest factor robbing Paramore of No. 1. (Starbucks, I believe, does report to Soundscan normally, albeit on the late side.)

  • chachwitablog

    I just hope this doesn’t lead Mariah’s label to drop all promotion for the album, because it is really growing on me and I’d like to see it do well long-run.

  • barnok

    Having heard the whole of Mariah’s album, I can understand how it did not sell as well as her 2 previous albums. This is the kind of album that, we, long-time fans, would like her music to be. More R&B than Hip-hop/Urban sound and with no features from rappers. This may have been the reason . . . . as her 2 previous albums featured a lot of Hip-hop/Urban sound that non-Mariah fans would like, thus, making them buy those two previous albums. This time around, with the whole album leaking a full week before its release, many younger people downloaded the whole album, listened to it and decided it’s not for them, so they did not buy the physical album.

    I’m hoping that in the long run, people will appreciate the album the way it is, (as long as IDJ would promote the album by releasing wise choices of the next singles). This album is full of wonderful slow jams that will do well on radio if given a chance and with good promotion. Fingers crossed.

    Having said so, I love the whole album. I can say it’s better than E=MC2. This is the first Mariah Carey CD that I listen in full and not skip a track.

  • bonkers09

    Too bad Mariah didn’t play her Oprah card wisely.

    But even if she had made an appearance a few weeks later, I’m not so sure her sales would be that much better; certainly nowhere near the almost-half-mil mark set by E=MC2.

    First, there’s the economy and the terrible showings across the board. Hell, Danity Kane sold 236,000 copies of their album in March of last year and now big names like Mariah and Babs can’t even break 200,000. nuff sed.

    Then there’s her cracked voice at Michael Jackson’s memorial, “Obsessed”‘s release being way too far in advance of the album, and the trainwreck “America’s Got Talent” performance, among other things. The decision by Mariah’s team to ditch “Obsessed” in favor of promoting a mediocre cover of a slow ballad (which, despite certain publications’ predictions has yet to become a serious chart contender) was yet another misstep. Not to mention that all the post-”Touch My Body” singles from E=MC2, with the possible exception of “Bye Bye,” were flops, which probably left radio programmers lacking confidence about Mariah’s next move.

    Poor timing, a bad consumer climate, and promotional failures created the perfect storm for this album.

    Now probably wouldn’t be a good time to mention that, despite people’s tighter wallets, the Beatles are still selling like hotcakes…