Madonna’s MDNA: Biggest Second-Week Sales Drop In Chart History

Forbes reports that Madonna has set yet another record, except it’s not one to be proud of—she’s had the biggest second week drop in sales (88%) in Billboard history:

Madonna’s “MDNA” album had the biggest second week drop in chart history last week, I am told. When all the numbers are in on Tuesday night, “MDNA” will have fallen from number 1 by 88%–from 359,000 copies in its first week to roughly 46,000 the second week.

Adds The Hollywood Reporter:

Many are questioning whether the option for fans to purchase the album as part of a tour-ticket package skewed the initial numbers reported by Billboard Magazine. With 185,000 copies sold as part of this deal, only 179,000 can constitute individual album sales. Had these been the final numbers reported, the album wouldn’t have topped the US charts in its first week after all. Rather, Lionel Richie would have taken the crown for selling 199,000 copies of his latest album, Tuskegee.

Did Madonna’s team pull something sneaky here by packaging the album with the tour ticket, or was it fair game? Part of Madonna’s power is that she can pull in so many of her fans to shows, and while a lot of these fans download her music illegally or listen to it for free on YouTube with a guilty conscience, they will throw down a crazy amount ($100+ for crappy seats) to see her live.


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  • Bryan

    Of course it was fair game(as in not against the rules) to do that, but it obviously skewered her numbers and showed that the album’s success wasn’t as amazing as people would want you to think.

    But then what did she expect when she and her management decided to do hardly any promo for it? Seriously, she makes it seem like she just wanted to do an album just so she could make tons of money on another world tour not because she really wanted to make new music.

  • shle896

    It’s definitely fair because anyone who received the album with their concert tickets CHOSE that more expensive package in order to purchase the album. Besides, what is more important is the World Music Chart where she is #1 in so many different countries. For instance, her last album “Hard Candy” didn’t sell like gangbusters here in the U.S., but it was the 11th biggest album of 2008 globally.

    Besides, album sales aren’t what they once were and they’re becoming less and less important with the frequency of illegal downloads. The real meat and potatoes is concert ticket sales and the MDNA tour is selling out all over the world and the only record left for Madonna to break is her own.

  • Zach


    Absolutely agree! Madonna makes a KILLING on concerts, and that’s what really matters. Napster killed the way we view the charts. They don’t tell the whole story anymore.

    But for fans to get off their asses, and pay good money to see someone live… that says something!

  • Tommy

    At least in the US, it wasn’t more expensive to get the album with the ticket. But a lot of people who got an album with the ticket because you only get the clean standard version, also purchased the deluxe version. If there hadn’t been the concert thing, they would have just bought one album, but with this concert thing they ended up buying 2 which inflated the numbers.
    It’s normal for most established artists for their sales to go down after the first week. The first week is the most important number as far as how big their audience is. Usually, sales only go up for newer artists that people are just discovering.

    Lionel Richie also had a gimmick too: country versions of his old hits, not an album of new songs like Madonna. I wonder how many Lionel would have sold if he did an album of all new songs even with a concert connection? I’m guessing nowhere near close to Madonna’s sales.

  • Spike

    That’s cuz no one bought the album the first week, they bought tickets to her concerts,
    which included in the cost of the ticket a ‘free album’. So in other words, no one
    bought the album the first week nor the second week.

  • cam

    Many are questioning whether the option for fans to purchase the album as part of a tour ticket package skewed the initial numbers reported by Billboard Magazine.”

    Of course that is what happened. It is how that CD by Prince made it into the charts. They gave a free one away with every set of tickets sold and played a bunch of dates that week.

  • Bipolar Bear

    The same thing happens with mainstream films now: hype it to #1 so you can say it got there, regardless of how good it is. This album’s success was built on brand alone, if it had been released unknown, if it would have sunk like a stone.

  • Jack

    People are trying to say that Madonna must have pulled a fast one for MDNA to hit #1. The four albums BEFORE it also hit #1. Were these instances also manipulated? As someone said before, everyone’s sales go down the second week.

  • Michael

    @Spike: Umm, I did and I know a lot more who did.

  • ewwwwwww

    hahaha Vadge’s album and shitty music failed.

  • n900mixalot

    This is her worst album thus far. Bleh. She will sell tour tickets and will be fine. Will I go, definitely not. I can only take so much of her awful lyrics.

  • Ben

    Ouch! Well, it doesn’t really surprise me to be honest, I think this is possibly her worst album…

  • Erik

    The album isn’t very good, has produced no hits, and the only people who got it are chumps like myself who have liked her for years.

    It’s no surprise it’s not doing well.

    Though I do enjoy the spin of the superfans who are still in love with our fallen idol.

  • Chris

    Wow, the defenders of Madonna are sounding really unintelligent here. Yes, everyone’s sales go down the second week. That’s not the story here. The story is that no one’s sales have EVER gone down by 88% in the second week. That’s a record-breaking plunge, and no argument you can make will erase that fact.

    Just admit that she used a dirty (but not illegal) trick to score a #1 album. As a chart watcher, I find the tactic offensive. As a Madonna fan, I commend her team for finding a way to manipulate the charts to her advantage. How embarrassing would it have been if Lionel Richie ended her streak of #1 albums!

  • Matthew Rettenmund

    The second-week sales are crappy, but can we at least—since we’re talking about BILLBOARD chart positions—wait until BILLBOARD releases its numbers? These numbers re from HITS. Jay-Z had an 81% drop, Gaga had 84%. Madonna’s will be around there or higher, but not by much. Is that good? Nope. But all the talk about chart manipulation is really dumb. Everything an artist does to promote their album is a way to manipulate people to buy it, whether it be Lionel Richie recording his old, tried-and-true hits and selling it on QVC (more power to him!) or Madonna doing a bundling scheme.

    I think the album is great. It has a lot of fans loving it with polls showing some place it among her best (a stretch for me) or in the middle of the pack. But it seems the ones who hate it really do hate it. Oh, well. It’s just music.

  • Allen D.

    @Michael: I definitely did too. No point in trying to get a concert ticket for Utah. But all in all, great album. Period.

  • ChrisC

    @Matthew Rettenmund: ‘Born This Way’ also sold over 1 million copies in it’s first week, so an 81% sales drop isn’t so bad.

  • Vevar

    i love how when this happens to madonna the ppl here defend it even though madonna’s team most definitely used the concert- album combination as a marketing tactic and when gaga’s album is sold BY AMAZON and not by Gaga for 99c, ppl bitch about it !!! just shows u the bias…. and i repeat again AMAZON SOLD IT not gaga … amazon suffered the loses of doing so because it was their decision

  • Triple S

    You know, from what I can see, I think Madonna’s done. She’s had a super successful career, I think she can just retire now. This failure is a good indicator of that.

  • Allen D.

    @Vevar: Yeah…. Gaga’s people had NOTHING to do with that. Please.

  • KPM

    Of course Madonna’s people orchistrated her chart position. That is how she built the brand and that is how she plays. She only ever wants to win! Which is a shame because she is simply on repeat with her whole approach ect. Im a fan of hers but I hate to see her pander for chart position. I guess its payback time because she is and has always been a bitch to her fan base. Maybe we’ve grown up and Madonna hasn’t.

  • John

    Madonna’s album would’ve debuted at #1 regardless of this or not.

    Honestly, I think people have such high standards for Madonna, they demand her to be as big as Adele, and when she’s not, they scream irrelevance. Please! She’s 30 years into her career and still scoring #1 debuts… how many other 80’s stars can we say still can do this? U2 and Springsteen are the only ones I can think of… neither of those sell like they did 25 years ago either, are they suddenly irrelevant as well today even though they still can score #1 albums?

  • grizz

    I thought we lived in a global community these days.
    Who cares what the US chart says, we all know she is #1 all around the world and appreciated more outside of the USA where all they like is hip hop and Beebs.

    I bought her album, I love it. so what?

  • grizz

    BEEBS! haha

  • Lazycrockett

    N Adele has stayed at the top of the charts for what? the last year and half. Just goes to show that real talent still sells.

  • DouggSeven

    Isn’t this how everything after Confessions has sold? After the fans buy it, it falls off the radar? I remember when the first single was leaked and her camp was quick to say it wasn’t a finished product, yet when the single came out, nothing changed. Wonder what Shep Pettibone is up to these days – music hasn’t changed that much from the 90’s and I bet he can produce a killer dance track that makes you wanna move, not like her latest that makes you feel like you’re in a dentist’s waiting room.

  • Chris

    The album probably didn’t make as many sales due to the fact of illegal downloading or people aren’t digging the way her new music is conforming to what the youth listen to today. Now shes trying to go dubstep on us. Dont get me wrong i absolutely love madinna, im 18 but it doesn’t appeal to me now that her music sounds so different from the days of Like A Prayer and La Isla Bonita. Just my opinion but hey she didnt do s bad as xtinas Bionic album.

  • Adam

    NOW would be the time for the Evita stage of her career. Not in ’96.

  • Fitz

    The other truth is that people like me have warned their friends how stupid it sounds.

  • Vevar

    @Allen D.: obviously she had some say because it is her album but amazon is the one who used her fame to promote their new software… and so suffered the loses it wasn’t an initiative taken up and fully endorsed by gaga

  • Buddy

    MDNA is an awesome album. Give it one listen and you’ll be blown away. Critics and haters —like Queerty— will run with a story like this because you WANT Madonna to FAIL. People HATED seeing her score a big first week sales and #1 with MDNA because it made them stick their foot in their mouth. Critics and haters —again like this site Queerty— were foaming at the MOUTH for a story like this, just so they could run to the top of the mountain and yell over and over that “Madonna is over.” Madonna is a LIVING LEGEND. How dare a site like this and others dismiss her. People have been doing that for 30 years and she STILL keeps going! But go ahead, keep bashing Madonna. She’s laughing all the way to the bank. Her MDNA Tour will likely break all sorts of records and become the highest grossing tour of all time and you all will choose to ignore it. This site makes me sick. You just lost a reader for GOOD for running with a slanderous shit piece like this.

  • DouggSeven

    @Bryan: ‘hardly any promotion’!?! What else do you call a Superbowl half-time show, a 20/20 interview that went viral with her reductive comment, a Facebook interview with Jimmy Falon, and two music videos? ‘Give Me All Your Luvin‘ & ‘Girls Gone Wild’ aren’t getting much airplay because they are terrible songs, not because she’s 53. Trust me, everyone knew the album was coming out and no one wanted it (minus her hardcore fans). Her and Niki not selling well is proof that people will buy good music – case in point, Adele. Face it, Madonna did not make a good album – if she did, it’d be selling. I don’t recall Adele doing a Superbowl show to sell her album…and look how that did/is doing?

  • shannon


  • J

    Why is Madonna news being posted here? I know she’s a gay icon but this is news site on GAYS.

  • KPM

    @Buddy: omg! calm down. her people were so quick to scream about her success, I think it fair that we get the other perspective! It sounds unfair to her fans but that’s life. Madonna is a big girl- she’s survived up til now hey? I think people against this album for two reasons. 1. that it is not from the heart- come on she’s 50 something- ‘Girls gone wild!?!’ she’s oo busy counting her money to be wild. or the other mother/daughter demographic song “give me all your love” Its way too calculated for what she should be singing about. She had more sophisticated lyrics twenty years ago! Unless she is simply reflecting the times- then god save us all! I would have preferred an album of ballads compared to a regurgitated Ministry of sound album. 2. Madonna’s personna is cold and tough. The world has changed in the past thirty years- maybe they want something to reflect that- i dony know but we cant always be centre of popular culture shifts!
    But I agree with someone who said that her act is getting a bit tired. she needs to take more of a risk than dance music. I mean the gays are mainstrean now arent we!?!

  • MPH

    The album is really great and definitely one of her all-time best. Anyone who’s saying it’s not has an obvious agenda against Madonna.

    Also, to the commenter above, it’s probably one of her most honest and true-to-life. 75% of the album is a reflection of her pain and heartache from her divorce, and how she tried to be a good girl/perfect wife (i.e. Madonna the children’s book author) to her ex-husband. This album is her blatantly saying, “I’m fed up. I’m who I am; take it or leave it,” so in many ways, Girl Gone Wild is PERFECTLY autobiographical b/c it’s her saying that she is and always will be Madonna: the original bad girl. Also, if you look at the other 25% of the music, it’s a testament to new love, like what she’s experiencing now with her new man.

    But in all honesty, anyone who questions the depth of Madonna’s songwriting capabilities need to listen to Love Spent, Falling Free, or I Fucked Up. Those songs are beautiful and really heartbreaking because you can feel how honest they are. Madonna’s style of songwriting is simple and direct — like old school John Mayer. The lyrics might seem trite and superficial, but the trained ear will recognize the layers of meaning. It takes LESS intelligence to write a song that TRIES to be epic (Edge of Glory, for example).

    MDNA is a fantastic album. End of story.

  • DouggSeven

    @MPH: If you think Madonna writes anything on her albums, you need to have your head examined. Madonna gets writing credits on her songs because she adds an ‘ooh’, ‘ahh’, or a grunt here and there. She invented this technique to share publishing royalies – but she can’t write or produce her way out of a paper bag (she also gets co-producing credits for adjusting a mixer knob on accoasion…everyone in the industry knows this).

  • Ian

    @DouggSeven How do you know what Madonna writes and what she doesn’t write? Does Lady Gaga write her own lyrics? What about Rhianna? What about Minaj? Why are people so determined to bring Madonna down? It’s so petty. Oh wait, I guess Madonna paid people to write her script for W.E., too? But wait, if that’s the case, wouldn’t she have a solid hit? Madonna writes her own material. And the album is very good, so people on this tired site need to get a life.

  • Bryan

    @Ian:Don’t know what the other artistes you listed do, but yes, Lady Gaga writes or at least co-writes ALL her songs, as confirmed by her producer, Google is your friend

  • Nobody Important

    And Madonna’s many collaborators over the years also confirm that Madonna writes or co-writes her own material as well. They also give her much more credit as a producer than commenters above are willing to admit. But, hey, I guess that’s convenient to ignore.

  • Blake

    Madonna knows all the money is in touring. Why hasn’t she done any promo? B/c record sales don’t mean shit anymore when everyone that wanted the album had it a week before it came out when it leaked. Read the RS article that explained this. Madonna is signed with Live Nation, a touring company. They don’t care about sales. The distrub. co Interscope was just a means to put the record out. 2 weak singles so far haven’t helped but American radio hardly plays anyone over 45 even if they put out amazing songs (see the fact that Madge’s Hung Up wasn’t a massive hit in America but the biggest global song EVER and set the standard for everything on pop radio today).

  • Grizz

    Finally Blake, someone I can agree with except the 2 weak singles jab.
    we all know that the first one had to come out to coincide with the Super Bowl performance, most watched in history!

    The 2nd GGW is a great pop song made fabulous by that video.

    Hung up is still one of my all time fave M songs.

    I will never understand some of the fans, I’m a fan and consider myself a fan. Isn’t a fan supposed to stick by their supposed idol through album after album and support them? that’s why you’re a fan!
    You can dislike it, but still be a fan and supportive.
    The only song I have disliked by Madonna is Dress You Up, but I was still a fan through that album and until this day.

    Next up is Turn up the Radio, it’s like a sequel to Hung Up for me and looking forward to it.
    Who cares what American radio plays anyways, it’s all Rihanna and Nicki Minaj which is for the youngins, who will be older like us one day and so will Rihanna and Nicki.
    Let’s wait and see how well they do in their freaking 50’s.
    I’ll bet 1/2 as good as M.

  • KPM

    I don’t have time to train my ears to listen between the lines of her trite words! Seriously guys- this album lacks passion . I agree with the point about The money being in the touring. She signed to Live Nation a deal worth a fortune- she needs to tour to honor that contract. I guess she’s a pop star and I’ve wanted her to be a God but the past few years she is on repeat.
    As for the lyrics describing her life- wtf! Most of them could be describing anyone on the street- she ain’t revealing anything. Don’t kid yourself… Madonna is chasing her title not her passion!
    She would never do what Kylie does- and give her gay fans an anti tour or perform at gay Mardigras. Madonna is Hollywood – its all about a buck – she hires Europeans to give her the look and style – god bless her.

    I love Madoona because she has balls- she’s tough. I’ve always cringed at some of her lyrics but went with the ride. But nowadays she doesn’t have that passion sorry everyone. Dance Madonna is tiring and safe.

  • Keane

    @Erik. Well put. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  • Jeff

    MDNA is Madonna’s best album since Like A Prayer and this is coming from someone who’s not even a hardcore fan. I think it’s really amazing. Definitely the best pop album in general of the last 10 years…

  • NotAMonster

    I am a huge fan, and have been for the past 30 years. I have seen every tour since The Virgin Tour, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars following her around the world on different tours, buying her cd’s, I have lots of original prints from photographers who shot her, I saw Swept Away in the one theater it played at in NY. I FUCKING HATE THIS ALBUM!! If you can listed to it, (which, I must admit, after about 2-3 min of each song, it was imperative for me to fast forward), you are either deaf or just plain stupid. To compare it to Like A Prayer, Ray of Light or Confessions is just a straight up sin. There is not one ounce of light or happiness or joy or hard work or thought process or, or, anything that makes me love her, that is apparent in this pile of shit. Any time I hear that “it’s full of what every Madonna fan wants” or “She’s back”, I cringe because it is so very apparent to me that she phoned this one in and what makes it sting even worse, she worked with William Orbit again. . . ?? Still trying to figure out how he came on board and gave us bullshit songs. I bought tickets to see her in Europe before the album came out, and the leaks made me scared. . but once the album was released, I immediately deleted the thing and sold all my concert tix, canceled my flights and hotels, and sat trying to figure out how in this post Gaga world, she could be so careless with her fans and music. Love her, FUCKING HATE MDNA.

  • ventura

    MDNA has secured Madonna’s place as pop music royalty. The album is so fresh and different than anything she’s ever done. I think it’s funny that Gaga fans are trying to trash it, like the commenter above. They all use the “I’m a huge Madonna fan, but this album sucks” kind of line, which is totally transparent. MDNA went to #1 in 40 countries and is a GLOBAL HIT. I wouldn’t let these fake Gaga-Fans-Posing-As-Madonna-Fans scare you.

    MDNA is a wonderful album and I personally cannot stop jamming to it!

  • FanBoy

    I agree. MDNA is really, really good! Turn Up The Radio is a masterpiece!!!

  • Grizz

    I love it too, It’s been on repeat in the car since it came out. There are only 3 songs on this whole album that I do not like. The rest is pure Madonna!
    You either like it, or don’t like it….just like anything else in this world.
    Allright, great!

    I love it.

  • Rod

    Hey,Howcrazy i love Madonna… My bucket list concert is Madonna – I was going to try to go to KC, i just scored my on tickets at

    I’m super excited about concerts this year.

  • TiredoftheBS

    Who’s Madonna?

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