Why Lil Wayne’s ‘Carter IV’ Outsold Jay-Z and Kanye’s ‘Watch The Throne’
Now that the numbers are in and Lil Wayne’s Carter IV album officially trumped Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Watch The Throne by over 600,000 copies, the question throughout Hip-Hop is how did Wayne outsell two of the biggest stars in rap?
Forbes.com believes they can answer that question and in an article the publication writes:
Jay-Z and Kanye pursued a complicated release strategy that included exclusive windows with Apple’s iTunes and BestBuy, in part to safeguard against the possibility of a leak (and angered some retailers in the process).
The Young Money/Cash Money team did nothing of the sort, and didn’t expend much energy on security, either.
Although Carter IV did leak a few days before its debut—unlike Watch The Throne, which remained airtight—many people, including Lil Wayne himself, believe the leak actually helped. Birdman agrees with that assessment, mostly because the leak occurred too late to have large negative impact on sales.
“It always depends how much time you have with a leak,” Birdman says. “This one was two or three days.”
When you got a project like this and it’s three weeks to a month, it can really hurt you … but in this case I don’t think the leak hurt at all.”
Forbes also touched on another reasons Tha Carter IV nearly sold 1 million copies in a week:
Another reason for Carter IV’s strong performance: Young Money/Cash Money ditched the typical release cycle, instead dropping the album immediately after Lil Wayne’s performance at the Video Music Awards last Sunday night.
“They didn’t really do it Tuesday to Tuesday,” says entertainment attorney Bernie Resnick. “People were very much into the album, and [the label] didn’t try to guard it like a big military secret.”
Resnick also wonders how much personality and perception played into the sales of Watch The Throne and Carter IV, given the difference between the images of the artists involved.
“The potential for negative perception of an artist is certainly part of the sales equation,” he says. “I think that people perceive Wayne as a fun guy to be around, and perhaps he takes himself a little less seriously than the Throne guys.”
Although some people believe Cash Money CEO Bryan “Birdman” Williams bought a number of albums that made up the difference in Tha Carter IV and Watch The Throne sales, that’s a claim that Birdman has denied, so we’ll take his world for it.
Despite the fact that Wayne’s album reigns supreme in terms of album sales, regardless of how you look at it, both Tha Carter IV and Watch The Throne‘s album sales are good for Hip-Hop.