Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne” soars to #1

HollywoodNews.com: WATCH THE THRONE, the critically-hailed first collaborative album by mega-platinum superstars JAY-Z and Kanye West on the Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam/Roc Nation imprint, soared to a well-deserved #1 Soundscan debut on first week sales of 436,078 units, it was jointly announced by Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO of Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown, and Steve Bartels, President/COO, Island Def Jam Music Group.

WATCH THE THRONE has also broken the record for the all-time highest 1st week sales on iTunes in the U.S. with nearly 290,000 units sold, besting the previous record held by Coldplay and hitting #1 on iTunes worldwide in all 23 global territories within 24 hours. With no leaks, the innovative WATCH THE THRONE launch campaign kicked off with a four-day exclusive on iTunes before being made available to all retailers on Friday, August 12th. A deluxe physical version with extra tracks is available exclusively at Best Buy until August 22nd.

WATCH THE THRONE marks the 12th #1 album debut at Soundscan by JAY-Z, and the 5th #1 album debut by Kanye West .

“This is one of those rare occasions where the amazing music on this album actually matches the event status of the pairing of these two iconic, generational artists,” said Mr. Weiss. “The proof is in the pudding with the sensational sales this week. Needless to say we are thrilled to be involved with this huge worldwide cultural event.”

“It is so exciting to be able to share and work on Jay-Z’s and Kanye West’s partnership and vision for this special collaboration,” said Mr. Bartels. “Great music, great artists and a great team effort coupled with an out of the box launch approach, resulted in no leaks and all the fans getting the music at the same time. The results are exciting and this is just the beginning.”

The #1 Soundscan debut for WATCH THE THRONE marks the second highest opening sales week for any album so far in 2011. This caps a groundbreaking launch campaign that began on Monday, August 8th at 12:01 a.m., when the two versions of WATCH THE THRONE were released exclusively via iTunes: the standard 12-song version, and the deluxe 16-song version. Including the record-breaking figure in the U.S. the album has sold over 366,000 units on iTunes worldwide in its first week.

At the same time, tickets also went on sale August 8th for the 2011 North American WATCH THE THRONE TOUR, produced by Live Nation. Due to overwhelming demand, three additional dates have been added: Atlanta (Oct. 28th); Miami (Nov. 15th); Atlantic City (Nov. 19th). The 24-city tour of the U.S. and Canada opens October 28th at Philips Arena in Atlanta, and concludes at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on December 18th. Fans who purchase their tickets online will receive a digital copy of the album.

WATCH THE THRONE ‘s lead track, “Otis” weaves a sample of the legendary Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.” The video for “Otis,” directed by the renowned Spike Jonze, premiered last Thursday night on the MTV, MTV2, mtvU, BET and Centric networks, and simultaneously on MTV.com and VEVO.

Over a year in the making, WATCH THE THRONE was a truly global affair, as Jay and Ye recorded in London and Bath in the UK, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, Paris, and New York City. Shrouded in secrecy prior to its release, the album has now been heralded a ‘masterpiece’ by those who have heard it. Producers include the RZA, Swizz Beatz, Q-Tip, The Neptunes, Pete Rock, and Kanye’s longtime collaborator Mike Dean. The short list of featured vocals includes Odd Future singer Frank Ocean, Beyonce, La Roux’s Elly Jackson, and Mr. Hudson.

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