Lil Wayne's new CD, fueled by leaks, poised to sell more than any album so far this year

Lilwayne_l
Happy days are here again for the beleaguered music industry…at least for a week. It turns out that everyone who was wondering whether Mariah, Madonna, or Usher would have the biggest blockbuster sales opening of the year had their eyes on the wrong contenders: It’s rapper Lil Wayne, who’s set to have the most massive first week of any new album this spring, by far. And, contrary to industry wisdom, it seems the album was helped by premature leaks.

How huge will it be? Tha Carter III just came out Tuesday morning, so it’s difficult to tell from less than a day’s worth of sales, but an exec at Lil Wayne’s label estimates the disc will sell between 850,000 and 950,000 by the end of its first week. If their numbers are correct, that would be about double the opening figure for 2008’s current record-holder, Mariah Carey’s E=MC2, which opened with 463,000 copies. “The accounts were bullish by 10 in the morning,” reports Pat Monaco, exec VP of sales for the Universal Motown Republic Group. “The sales the first few hours were exceeding the rate that the Kanye album sold a year ago.” (That one ended up selling 957,000 the first week; nothing has come close since.) “Wayne was one of these records that, because it was so highly anticipated, with the leaks and everything, it caused more people to go out at 8 in the morning to buy the CD.”

Did he say leaks helped? Indeed. But Tha Carter III
was no ordinary leaked album. Release dates came and went — October,
March, etc. — and various versions of the album would either escape
onto the Internet or be unofficially released by Lil Wayne himself on
bootleg mix tapes, followed by the star indulging in new rounds of
recording. Label attempts to pin down the project “were like putting a
traditional setup and street date on a guy that was just
nontraditional,” says Monaco. “It changed dates, changed titles,
changed songs, changed the people that were working on it. But
sonically, the record bears out” all the time that went into it, Monaco
contends.

One element that really went against conventional wisdom: the idea
that massive exposure is overexposure. Between the leaks, the mix
tapes, and appearing on other people’s records, Lil Wayne has been
everywhere in the last year. But all that seems to have whetted, instead of
diminished, interest in the long-awaited project. We’ll find out for
sure on Wednesday, June 18 whether sales meet — or even exceed —
Universal’s projections.

Did he say leaks helped? Indeed. But Tha Carter IIIwas no ordinary leaked album. Release dates came and went — October,March, etc. — and various versions of the album would either escapeonto the Internet or be unofficially released by Lil Wayne himself onbootleg mix tapes, followed by the star indulging in new rounds ofrecording. Label attempts to pin down the project "were like putting atraditional setup and street date on a guy that was justnontraditional," says Monaco. "It changed dates, changed titles,changed songs, changed the people that were working on it. Butsonically, the record bears out" all the time that went into it, Monacocontends.

One element that really went against conventional wisdom: the ideathat massive exposure is overexposure. Between the leaks, the mixtapes, and appearing on other people’s records, Lil Wayne has beeneverywhere in the last year. But all that seems to have whetted, instead ofdiminished, interest in the long-awaited project. We’ll find out forsure on Wednesday, June 18 whether sales meet — or even exceed —Universal’s projections.


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Comments (61 total) Add your comment
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  • Wowsers

    I’m 29 and I feel so old. I have no idea who he is or why it would be cool to have “Lil” in your name..and I’m black too.

  • nisheka b hayes

    I am 29 year old and I want to say I have never seen the people in Alexandria, La.which are black and white searching from store to store wanting tee shirts and cd’s that pertaining to Lil’Wayne and Plies. In general, I think these two rapper are the hottest his market. I want to tell these guys please keep your fans happy with your music.
    See ya Later,
    nisheka hayes

  • killa cal

    lil wayne has been in the rap industry for 11 years now and people just started recognizing him over the past couple of years beacause of his mixtapes, he has a lyrical flow unlike anyother and has 13-35 year olds bumpin his music everywhere, he is a phenomenon on the internet and the media has created such a buzz that he will sell a million in the first week easily, i havent bought an album in 4 yrs and i bought this album and lemme tell u three othere ppl within a ten minute span bought the album too so yea hez popular

  • KIDD69

    HEY PEEPZ I JUST WANTED TO DROP IN AND SAY THAT I HAVE BEEN A WEEZY FAN SINCE HE HIT THE SCENE ALONG TIME AGO AZ A LIL WAYNE. YOU KNOW WHEN HE DROPPED HIZ FIRST CD AND IT DIDN’T HAVE A CURZE WORD ON IT. NOT CUZ IT WAZ EDITED BUT BECUZ HE WAZ A LITTLE LIL WAYNE. WEEZY KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.. I THINK U R AWESOME AND I AM 32 YRZ OLD… SO DO YOU GUY

  • KIDD69

    OH Y-E-A-H GOT THAT CARTER 3 AND YEZ IT WAZ WORTHY OF YOUR BABI PIC BEIN ON THE COVER CUZ U R THE GREAT AND THIZ CD IZ UR BEST WORK 2 DATE!!!!!!!!

  • kenye22

    dis cd gonna do numberz jus because u only heard 2 songs on the cd andtey was on the radio so e gonna do at least 800 stacks the first week

  • amanda

    i guess this just shows how sh*tty the popular music scene is today.

  • Gansta_ga

    Get the Cd don’t burn this one. He works to hard and is the Best Rapper Alive

  • B-

    Horrible rapper. Overrated. Stupid and ignorant. Makes no sense half the time. And ugly as hell. I don’t and WILL NOT ever get his appeal. He’s garbage. And for any of the lemmings who are hard core “Weezy F Baby” dckriders need to disappear from the face of the earth. The world should be capable of embracing real music and even real rap music for the matter. This down south Ringtone rapper movement has to stop.

    • kristen hardy

      ur stupid

  • me

    lil wayne is not a good rapper, he uses his sound and 8th grade lyrics to make jits. it is a SAD SAD day when this trash sells almost a million copies in a week. just goes to show waht mindless drivel people will listen to. and, yes i am a huge fan of rap music, GOOD rap music.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the deal, for years Lil’ Wayne annoyed me and in the last year or so he has impressed me so much. At first I thought his voice was terrible, but he uses it so well to his advantage. His ability to do such a wide range of songs is impressive to anyone. I mean on his new disc he has slow, deep, songs, fast club songs, pop songs (radio cuts), and of course he has the strange songs that people think make no sense. If you say that his songs dont make sense, thats cause you dont understand his situation or what he is discussing, all his lines are as deep or deeper than your favorite rapper. At first I thought his new cd THA CARTER III was off, not a good cd, although after listening like 10 times, all the songs are fantastic and have there individuallity to them. LIL’ WAYNE IS THE MOST CREATIVE, TALENTED, MISUNDERSTOOD, RAPPER IN THE GAME. BUY THE NEW CARTER III AND LISTEN 10 TIMES AND YOUR OPINION WILL CHANGE, I PROMISE!!!

  • terrell ward

    THE CARTER 3 IS SOME SHYT
    NO ONE IS BUYING IT THEY ALREADY GOT IT. THEY DOWNLOADED IT. IT’S HONESTLY NOT WORTH BUYING. LIL WAYNE ONLY HAS ONE GOOD ALBUM N THAT WAS THE CARTER 1.EVERYTHING ELSE HE’S SOME SHYT WIT HIS FAKE ASS
    N HE SCARED OF FIFTY. HE SAID FIFTY WAS THE HARDEST DUDE ON THE PLANET N HE WOULD NEVER BEEF WIT HIM. LOOK ON HIPHOPDX.COM TO SEE IT

  • Anonymous

    Hey Terrell, would you be afraid of 50? He’s a bad ass dude, possibly trying to hurt/kill his baby mama and his child? Come on man, 50 is crazy, Wayne is just a smart dude. I’m glad Wayne is not into beefing with peeps, thats not what rap shoud be about, is about being you and sharing good music with others, Wayne got that memo.

  • ChRiStInA

    everyone is buying this CD not only because the songs are good but because fans got much love fo wayne and they wanna support him. i know ima buy it and i already have the whole CD on my computer.

  • s

    All these haters…Lil Wayne HAS to obviously be great. He has so much support from the biggest people in the game. Jay-Z, Kanye, T-Pain, and many other big producers. Tha Carter III is one of the best albms of the year and it’s worth buying even if you already downloaded it!!!

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