Although clever maneuvering by Kanye West and Jay-Z helped the pair avoid early leaks of their joint project Watch The Throne, Young Money captain Lil Wayne wasn’t as lucky with his ninth studio album Tha Carter IV leaking last week to the Web and suddenly became the fodder of online discussion and debate. Although the New Orleans native planned to drop the album digitally at the conclusion of tonight’s (August 28) MTV Video Music Awards, the leak may have dulled some of the sales impact. The question remains: can Tha Carter IV defy all odds and still sell 1 million copies this week?
The leak of Tha Carter IV didn’t seem to bother Cash Money Records CEO Bryan “Birdman” Williams, according to a recent quote given to Rolling Stone. After revealing to the magazine that Cash Money delivered Tha Carter IV to home label Universal ten days in advance in order to expedite the pressing up for 2 million copies, Birdman feels confident that his protégé Lil Wayne will still fare well by saying, “The goal is to sell a million-plus copies.”
Birdman also shrugged off the leak being no more than a minor snag given that physical copies of the album are coming soon. “I can deal with it for short period of time,’ Birdman says of the leak. “ It’s when you have a leak out for a long time that it’s crazy.” The confidence from Birdman is cemented by history as Wayne’s Tha Carter III leaked prematurely as well in 2008 but didn’t stop the momentum of the album as it went on to still sell 1 million copies in its first week.
With a slumping economy and lowered than expected sale numbers across the board for the music industry, Tha Carter IV faces some challenges to even do have of what its predecessor did as far as sales. This year alone, only one album has hit the 1 million sales mark in its first week – Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Yeezy and Hov came closest with Watch The Throne selling 436,000 in their first week and this is with the album releasing on time.
Unlike Watch The Throne, however, Lil Wayne has the benefit of several hit singles that blazed the charts since the top of the year. The radio support and current success of crossover rap hits “How To Love” and the Drake-assisted “She Will” give Wayne a noticeable advantage. If Wayne does go on to sell 1 million copies or besting Watch The Throne’s 436K mark, it would still be an astounding feat and a clear indicator that Lil Wayne enjoys a loyal and supportive fan base.
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