Kanye West and Jay-Z's 'Watch the Throne' breaks Coldplay's first week sales record, debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 chart


Image Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Our critic may not have felt the vibes on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album. But with a record breaking iTunes debut and the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart, it appears many did.

The twosome’s collection, one that West refers to as “luxury rap,” broke Coldplay’s iTunes first-week sales record, moving almost 290,000 digital copies. Coldplay’s Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends sold 282,000 in 2008.

Within 24 hours of Throne dropping on Aug. 8, it was No. 1 on iTunes worldwide in 23 countries. And today, Billboard reports that Throne‘s complete opening sales (meaning both the digital and physical version, which bowed Aug. 12) is a kingly 436,078 units, making it no. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

It’s a huge victory for the two, who didn’t promote the album in traditional fashion. Really, they hardly promoted it at all. Outside of two press listening sessions (I attended one) and one New York radio interview, Jay and Kanye kept quiet. There wasn’t magazine cover or even a music video released before the album.

Still, the buzz behind the project was huge. And apparently, fans have not been disappointed.

Did you buy Watch the Throne? Glad it opened with these numbers? Let us know.

More on EW.com:
Jay-Z and Kanye West release ‘Watch the Throne’ ‘Otis’ video — Everybody’s all-American! Watch it here
Independent record stores protest Jay-Z and Kanye’s album-release shutout

Comments (27 total) Add your comment
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  • Chris

    I bought it as soon as i could. album’s an instant classic (though My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is still better)

    • album would be a classic

      if the Blueprint + MBDTF didn’t put it to shame. Also if the Bad Meets Evil EP didn’t crap all over it. Dam that record is so awesome

      • PeterBilt

        I know its all opinion, but I think this is better than the Bad Meets Evil album.

    • grrm

      Everyone should watch Game of Thrones.

    • jj

      I agree. Rap is putting out some really great albums of late. Lil Wayne and Drake aren’t too far behind, either.

      • PN

        I like that they’re being more creative and chance taking on their albums. I’m also looking forward to Lil’ Wayne and Drake’s albums–they could have big first weeks too in their sales!

  • Hey Now!!!

    This makes it Jay-Z’s third “Duet” album to debut at number 1. His other two were with Linkin Park and R. Kelly. This pushes his total number one albums to 12. I think that collaboration albums should be counted separately from solo artists tally. Eminem’s two albums as D12 didn’t count as number one albums for Eminem even though people only bought them because of him. I guess if he had titled them “Eminem and D12″ they would have counted as NO. 1 albums for him. Whatever.

  • No More, No More

    Watch the throne, because Kanye and Jay Z just crapped out a new CD.

  • Phil

    Nowhere on the Billboard article or here does it mention the copies that were ‘sold’ to ticket buyers when purchasing tickets for the tour…they were given codes to redeem on the LiveNation store for a ‘free’ download of the album…codes which I was unable to use or access last week when the disc dropped, but was told i’d be able to on August 8th via an email from LiveNation after I purchased tickets for the tour. Did anyone else have this problem and do these albums count towards the ‘new digital record’ Watch The Throne broke as far as digital albums sold? Its SO easy to copy and rehash entertainment stories these days while leaving out peritent parts…SIGH….

  • Jay

    I’m a huge Kanye West Fan, The album was good, but never really reached the level of his solo work [Graduation, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy] but it still good, my Favorite track is OTIS!

  • Levi

    MBDTF is still a little better. But I can’t stop listening to this album, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins album of the year.

    • Carrie

      I would. If this crap beats Adele…America sucks.

      • sam

        I like Adele, but you’re giving her too much credit. She has a nice voice, that’s all.

      • Irwin

        Adele’s got 25 weeks near the top. If this rap garbage ever approaches her 3 million and counting, I would jump off the bridge. I mean look at Eminem, Blake Shelton, Eric Church; they all took over for one week – and then the Queen regained her throne.

      • PN

        Adele is still going to sell more this year, but don’t be surprised if Jay and Kanye sell just as many units as her.

  • Jason

    I love the album (deluxe edition)!

  • Lenny

    I’m happy for Jay and Kanye for Jay’s 12th #1 and Kanye’s 5th #1. I’m sad for everyone that didnt understand this album. I will admit when I first listened to it I gave it a 4 out of 10 only liking 3 songs off the album and kept asking myself “What is this crap?!” But after awhile I started randomly quoting lines from a few songs and it called me back to listen through it again. After the 2nd time I came out liking a different 3 songs and thought the album was average. This process repeated over and over until I gave the album a final 8.5 out of 10 and I’m currently on my 12th listen. Totally misunderstood album. I also give props to Kanye and Jay for touching on a wide range of topics than just how royal and rich they believe themselves to be. There’s a recurring theme on the entire album between family and religion which fit into it all nicely. It definitely succeeds at the “castle music” approach they were aiming for. Watch the Throne is an album where you must listen to it multiple times to see how deep it actually goes and with each listen you come out with something different on your mind. It’s not a prefect album either, since there seems to be a feeling that Jay wanted Kanye to hold back on his overall creative power to lower himself to Jay’s level. If this album had Kanye at his creative limit then it would have been a much more thought out and cohesive album. But it’s way better than what most people have said it is. As far as Jay is concerned, I believe this album fits in between the quality of American Gangster and The Black Album. Kanye on the other hand, actually loses a little ground, compared to all his other work. In my opinion so far it’s the 3rd best Hip Hop album of 2011, behind Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 and Saigon’s The Greatest Story Never Told. Still believe it was better than Bad Meets Evil and Lupe’s Lasers

  • Juan Carlos

    Really, REALLY like this album. Hey going nearly 500K without promotion is awesome. But you know what I want to see? A Jay-Z/Eminem collaboration album. “Renegade” is still awesome after 10 years.

    • PN

      Oh, great idea! Eminem is very low key when he records his albums, but an Jay-Z/Eminem collaboration album would be HOT! I can just imagine them kick some verses and tradeoffs in their collaboration. I can imagine hearing their voices rapping back and forth on the proposed album just like they did on 2001’s Renegade! Just 10 songs and don’t do any promotion the same way that Jay and Kanye did with their new album.

  • Joe

    Really wanted to like it, but i didn’t like it
    bought it though ;)

  • Carrie Underwood

    Just another sample of rich rappers rapping nonsense thinking they’re important. A true collaboration between two “superstars” should have sold at least half a million. The fact that our own president reveres this music shows the horrible situation our country is in.

  • CS

    watch the throne is an instant classic i must have in your collection.

  • Fred

    what an awesome album…..even for cynics like me who dont really like rap…..lyrics are just amazing……my fav album since Coldplay Viva La Vida….great job to Jay-Z and Kayne.

  • PN

    Remarkable 436,000 copies that they sold of their album the first week! And they did it without too much promotion. It took a few listens, but this album’s addictive with the way Jay-Z and Kanye West rap in the songs. They do boast a lot about luxury things in most of the songs, but it matches with the album’s theme and concept.

  • NonEntity

    If you live in the US, you know talking over a rhythm is really where its’ at. At thirty years old, rap is once again trying to make an impact. Will it work? Maybe if these gentlemen step aside.

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