Kanye West is set to release his latest album, “Yeezus,” next Tuesday, and according to early projections from Billboard, it could sell as many as 500,000 copies in its first week. That kind of dominance on the charts would make “Yeezus” one of the most popular albums of the year.
"That's what industry forecasters suggest," Keith Caulfield, Billboard's associate director of charts and retail, told USA Today on Thursday. "It's difficult to a degree to predict an album's sales until it actually goes on sale, but the closer you to are to the release date, the better you can tell. It's like a weather forecast."
Caulfield says the prediction of 500,000 copies is fairly consistent with some of West’s previous work. “Watch the Throne,” “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and “808s and Heartbreak” all sold between 430,000 and 496,000 copies in their first weeks.
According to these numbers, “Yeezus” would cement West as one of the most popular artists of the year. At 500,000 copies in the first week, “Yeezus” would handily outsell Daft Punk’s latest album “Random Access Memories,” which moved 339,000 units in the same time frame. So far in 2013, only Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” has sold more units with 968,000 copies in the first week. If predictions are correct, "Yeezus” would become the second-most popular album of the year.
For Kanye West himself, though, monetary success might not be the best measure of success for “Yeezus.” At a Monday night listening party for “Yeezus” in New York City, West explained that he’s concerned, first and foremost, about putting out the best product possible.
“We didn’t give a f--k about what nobody said from the outside looking in. We just wanted to make the best product possible and this is just the beginning of an entire new mentality about how to make music," West said, according to Vibe’s wrapup of the event.
Oh, and if you happened to wonder exactly where West came up with the singularly bizarre title “Yeezus,” West explained that at his New York listening party. According to West, “Yeezus” is all about shedding his “slave name” for something a bit more majestic.
"I wanna explain something about the title Yeezus. Simply put, West was my slave name and Yeezus is my god name,” West said.