Madame X meets the Charts
The first national charts have been updated for the week, finally revealing how the Madame X sales did in the worldwide markets.
The results are also an opportunity to spend some words about the evolution of the music market in the constant transition from physical to digital.
Madame X has nearly 55,000,000 streams on Spotify and topped the iTunes charts in 60 different countries shortly after its release, but the same is not happening in the national charts based also on physical sales where the album is a solid Top Ten hit – and enters straight to No. 2 in several European countries – but so far fails to hit the top spot.
The spotlight is of course on the UK chart, where the race for the top was between The Boss and The Queen of Pop.
Bruce Springsteen takes the glory in this week’s Official Albums Chart but interestingly the chart debut of Madame X at No. 2 is the same of her previous album release, Rebel Heart.
Madame X sold 27,227 units last week, setting the record for a No.2 album thus far in 2019. 4,628 vinyls contributed to the sales and 1,993 copies on cassette, the 72.47% of sales in that format last week.
Springsteen’s 19th studio album Western Stars is also the reason that kept Madonna to the second spot in Italy. This time the news is hard hit for the Italian fans – it is the first time since Bedtime Stories that a Madonna studio album doesn’t debut on the top spot. On the other hand, the two are in the fabulous company of Erotica who was also a No. 2 hit. If the results of the Rebel Heart Tour album serves as an indication of where’s the Italian market is going, let’s note that it debuted at No. 4.
Missing from today’s news are of course the scores in the US Album Chart , but as you know the predictions from Hits Daily Double are promising.
It will be probably take some time (and more countries’ data, and second week sales) to have a in-depth look at the commercial success of Madame X, but there are a few things we can take in consideration already.
The album is doing extremely well on the streaming platforms and – as already mentioned – was an almost instant Top Hit on iTunes in 60 different countries.
At the same time, it came out in several different physical versions – covering almost every available format from CD to Double Vinyl, Picture Disc and Compact Cassette (but no DAT).
The number of formats, clearly aimed to maximize the sales counting on the collectors’ community, may have been confusing for the general public. Three different covers looking almost completely different one from another probably didn’t help either, as well as tracklisting information that remained incorrect even after the album release at some of the biggest international online retailers.
Moreover, the decline in sales number (Madame X made a 26.90% slower start than Rebel Heart in the UK) is paired by the almost complete disappearance of the brick and mortar stores, especially in the UK, where fans often reported a lack of copies available to purchase even in the early days of release.
Last but not least, it may be worth taking into consideration that the album pre-orders happened largely in the same month of the pre-sales for the Madame X Tour.
And while in the US the ticket bundle is playing a big part in boosting the album’s first week numbers, the same did not happen in Europe (in the UK a similar bundle would not count towards the chart).
On the contrary, it would not be surprising to learn that some fans decided to stick to a smaller number of formats to purchase to save some of their monthly credit card plafonds for the tour tickets.
The numbers may look bitter, but there are two things we know for sure: the market is changing, and the album is great, loved by the fans and praise by the critics.
The first week Charts so far – with Rebel Heart debut position in brackets – to be updated as more countries are in:
While we update these ranks during the last week of June 2019, Madame X topped the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S. and also hit #1 in Portugal and Argentina.
#1 Portugal (AFP) (1)
#2 UK (Official Charts) (2)
#2 Italy (Fimi – Top Of The Music) (1)
#2 Belgium (Ultratop Flanders) (1)
#2 Belgium (Ultratop Wallonia) (2)
#2 The Netherlands (Album Top 100) (1)
#3 Spain (ProMusicaE) (1)
#4 France (Snep) (3)
#4 Austria (Ö3 Austria) (1)
#4 Czech Republic (ČNS IFPI) (1)
#5 Germany (Offizielle Top 100) (1)
#7 Finland (Suomen Virallinen Lista) (2)
#8 Ireland (IRMA) (5)
#6 Norway (VG-lista) (2)
#10 Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) (10)
#20 Greece (IFPI) (3)*
#1 USA (Billboard 200)
#2 Australia (ARIA)
#2 Canada (Billboard)
#3 Argentina (CAPIF)
#5 New Zealand (RMNZ)
#11 Japan (Oricon)**
*Madame X didn’t have a full first week worth of sales in Greece.
** Madame X had only 3 days of sales counting to the album chart in Japan, which did not follow the 2015 change in the global release schedule.