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Ariana Grande isn't just a Nickelodeon star anymore. The actress/ musician recently released her debut album Yours Truly. The initial single, “Baby I”, has already taken the world by storm, and on Wednesday, Billboard announced that Grande has earned her first #1 album on the Billboard 200 charts. That’s pretty impressive for a singer who is only 20, but unlike other professions, that's pretty much par for the course in the music business.
This week, everyone actually thought there might be a battle between the newcomer and veteran singer Toni Braxton on the album charts. Early predictions indicated that Yours Truly would sell somewhere between 115,000 and 120,000 albums, while Braxton was expected to sell between 110,000 and 115,000 copies of her latest studio album Love & War. The battle didn’t end up being as close as expected. According to Billboard, Grande’s album actually ended up selling 138,000 copies in its first week. That’s a far cry from artists like Justin Timberlake, who sold closer to the million copy mark when the 20/20 Experience landed earlier this year, but it's still a pretty impressive achievement.
The outlet is also noting that Grande’s sales were buoyed a bit by her promoters, who put together a download deal for fans tied to a set of events Grande will perform at around the holidays. This wasn’t a Jay-Z worthy promotion, but early estimates indicate that the it did account for between 5,000 and 7,000 of the copies sold, which means Grande would still have handily beaten Love & War this week. Braxton’s latest endeavor only ended up selling 114,000 copies, and besides, we have no way of knowing how many of Grande’s fans who entered the promotion would have bought a copy of Yours Truly regardless of a holiday deal.
Still, starting out at #1 is a big accomplishment for a girl who is trying to get her name out as a big star. The last female whose debut album managed to land at #1 was Ke$ha, who accomplished the feat in 2010 with Animal. The album chart varies from week to week. Sometime artists can nab a #1 slot selling less than 100,000 copies and other times an artist or group might sell 200,000 copies or more and still get beat out by a juggernaut like Timberlake. It’s a big crapshoot, and it’s up to a promoter to figure out when the best time to release an album will be.
Rounding out the third through fifth slots this week were Nine Inch Nails with Hesitation Marks, John Legend with Love in the Future, and Luke Bryan, who returned to the charts with Crash My Party.