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Amazon's gamble gives Lady Gaga 1M in album sales

Associated Press
FILE -- In a May 27, 2011 file photo Lady Gaga performs on ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Central Park in New York. Billboard announced Tuesday, March 31, 2011, that "Born This Way" debuted at No. 1 on its Billboard 200 album chart and the top-selling digital debut.  (AP Photo/Evan Agostini/file)
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FILE -- In a May 27, 2011 file photo Lady Gaga performs on ABC's 'Good Morning America' in Central Park …

NEW YORK (AP) — Lady Gaga sold more than 1.1 million copies of her new album "Born This Way" and set a digital sales record last week — with an assist from Amazon.com.

Billboard announced Tuesday that "Born This Way" debuted at No. 1 on its Billboard 200 album chart, becoming just the 17th album to sell a million copies in its first week since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991 and the top-selling digital debut.

The dance pop provocateur is just the fifth female with a an album that sold more than a million copies in the SoundScan era.

Lady Gaga's first No. 1 album sold the most copies of any debut since March 2005 when 50 Cent's "The Massacre" sold 1.14 million. The last million-selling album was Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" in November.

Amazon's attention-grabbing download price of 99 cents last Tuesday and Thursday helped drive "Born This Way" to an unprecedented 662,000 in digital sales, pushing the album to nearly three times initial estimates by Universal Music Group. Amazon sold more than 440,000 of those copies alone, but with mixed results.

The online retailer did grab the spotlight it had hoped in its battle for a larger piece of the online market, which is dominated by Apple's iTunes. But it came with an image hit when customers overwhelmed Amazon's system.

Amazon's move has been deemed controversial by some observers who say the steep loss of several dollars an album was not worth the investment. Physical outlets also were upset at the advantage given to an online retailer.

Dramatic price cuts are nothing new for Amazon, which regularly trims new and popular album prices to as low as $2.99 through its daily deal program.

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Online:

http://www.billboard.com

http://www.ladygaga.com

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