Beyonce took a big risk in dropping her self-titled album on iTunes late last week without any pre-release promotion, and it's now abundantly clear that the bold move paid off. The singer's camp tells The Huffington Post that "Beyoncé" sold 828,773 copies over the weekend, a massive take made even more impressive by the fact that the album was an iTunes exclusive for the duration of that period.
The album was the fastest-selling to ever hit iTunes and sold 617,213 copies domestically. Featuring collaborations from Drake, Frank Ocean and Beyoncé's husband and daughter Jay Z and Blue Ivy, the LP is a huge boost for Sony. Beyonce's tally will be the highest for a woman since Taylor Swift's "Red" sold 1.2 million copies in November 2012. The final first-week figure will also be Beyonce's personal best, topping 2006's "B'day," which sold 541,000 in its first week. "Beyoncé" went No. 1 in 104 countries.
Billboard reported earlier that "Beyoncé" moved 80,000 copies in its first three hours on iTunes. Sales are helped by the fact that the 14-track album (which comes with 17 videos) is only available as a single $15.99 purchase -- songs are not available for individual purchase until Dec. 20.
In a press release that followed the surprise drop, Beyonce said the move was in part motivated by a desire to not repeat the traditional album promo cycle. "I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” she said. “I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”