Beyonce’s Surprise New Album Tops iTunes Sales Chart

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Update: Strong early sales figures for Beyonce’s “Beyonce” reveal that its delay in ascending to the top of the iTunes chart was not due to poor performance.

The precise reason for that delay, however, remains a mystery.

Its release might have been unexpected, but given the buzz it created, the artist’s fanbase and the lack of high-profile competition, the new Beyonce album’s ascent to the top of iTunes’ Album Sales chart was inevitable.

As of Friday morning, Beyonce’s iTunes “visual album” “Beyonce” has officially made that inevitability a reality.

The ascension of “Beyonce” meant the end of Childish Gambino’s reign atop the sales chart. Since releasing Tuesday, his “Because the Internet” had maintained its peak position at the leading digital retailer.

While most major album releases reach the top of iTunes’ sales chart almost immediately after hitting the store, it took “Beyonce” roughly ten hours to make the climb. Though early sales were surely tempered by the complete absence of market awareness, let alone promotion, the delay in its climb was conspicuous.

Since “Because the Internet” is pacing to move 80-90,000 copies from all retailers this week, the Beyonce record likely only needed to move ten thousand (perhaps a few thousand less) to reach the top of iTunes’ real-time chart (which is apparently based on sales over the trailing 24 hours). It would be a major surprise if “Beyonce” took ten hours to move that sum.

As such, clarity is needed regarding whether “Beyonce” was initially omitted from iTunes’ calculations or if the album’s vast social media excitement did not translate into strong initial sales.