*Rihanna’s “Anti” is her first album in more than three years, and surprisingly, it entered the Billboard chart at No. 27 — the singer’s lowest opening chart position. Nielsen reported that the album sold fewer than 1,000 copies in the U.S. However, it also had 4.2 million streams and 126,000 sales of individual tracks.
As previously reported, the low sales for “Anti” comes from Tidal itself. On Monday, a Tidal spokesman said that the album was put on sale late Thursday, after Samsung’s exclusive giveaway period ended, giving the album just a few hours to rack up sales for the week. Billboard’s chart policies disqualify the Samsung giveaways.
Rihanna’s last album, 2012’s “Unapologetic,” opened at No. 1, and each of her seven earlier studio albums opened in the Top 10. Despite the low opening for “Anti,” some are calling it a success, and no doubt this has much to do with the digital downloads. Those downloads led the Recording Industry Association of America to immediately certify “Anti” as a platinum release.
“Anti” dropped last week after a prolonged marketing campaign and a last-minute leak, Rihanna partnered with Samsung to release the record, in which one million copies were also given away to fans, per the sponsorship deal. Additionally, Tidal said that it had sold 484,833 downloads of the album, and that the album was streamed 5.6 million times on its service.
Tidal’s Director of Marketing, Grace Kim, said that despite the leak, “Anti” still moved 1.4 million units in just 15 hours, and industry insiders are attributing that number to sales outside the U.S., as Tidal operates in dozens of countries around the world.
“Anti” initially placed low but it quickly reached No. 1 on iTunes’s internal charts, and industry sales executives predict the album could sell up to 130,000 copies in its first full week of sales, which would be reflected on next week’s chart.