How it is faring as an album will become clear when sales estimates are released Wednesday afternoon.
But “ARTPOP” is definitely failing to do one thing recent releases from Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Eminem did very well: drive its individual tracks up the sales chart.
Upon its release, Cyrus’ “Bangerz” sent each of its standard edition songs into the iTunes Top 100; Eminem’s “MMLP2” and Katy Perry’s “Prism” achieved the same feat with many of their tracks.
The tracklist from Gaga’s album is not making the same impact.
As of late Tuesday, only three “ARTPOP” songs were in the Top 100 and two of them (“Applause,” #12, and “Do What U Want,” #16) had entered that club prior to the release of the album. Of the tracks first made available to listeners in conjunction with the album release, only “Gypsy” (#87) had ventured into–and remained in–the illustrious Top 100.
There is no certain connection between individual track sales and overall album sales. Even though “Bangerz” launched more Top 100 singles than “MMLP2,” the latter album sold almost three times as many copies in its first week. And insofar as those who buy individual tracks are almost certainly not buying the entire album, one can even argue there is a negative element to strong song sales.
Track sales do, however, often serve as a weather vane for buzz, particularly among the casual fans who can transform an album from a hit into a monster.
The release of album sales estimates will confirm which applies to “ARTPOP.” Are tracks selling slowly because everyone is buying the full album? Or are they underperforming because the album is not as buzzworthy as initially anticipated?