Remember when fashion entrepreneur Mark Ecko bought Barry Bonds' 756th home-run baseball at auction? Ecko, in the wake of the steroids controversy surrounding Bonds, conducted a poll at Vote756.com asking the public if he should: "A) Bestow it intact to Cooperstown [home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame ], B) Permanently brand the ball with an asterisk before sending to Cooperstown, or C) Launch it into space forever." Some 10 million votes later, 47% wanted it asterisked -- winning out over the space-banishment (19%) and no-asterisk (34%) voters.
Last Monday, Lady Gaga released her album "Born This Way," and yesterday, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the album officially entered the history books as only the 17th album to sell a million or more copies in a week (in her case, 1.11 million) since SoundScan's start in 1991. Gaga got a massive performance-enhancing injection from Amazon, though, which reportedly sold more than 400,000 copies of "Born This Way" in its 99-cent Groupon-style deep-discount digital-download flash sales.
Not fair for Gaga to get to be in the million-seller's club, right? Well, as Billboard reports, she still got her full royalty, because Amazon, which wanted to promote its new cloud music service, paid the regular wholesale price for "Born This Way," meaning it lost an estimated $7.40 per 99-cent album sold (for a total loss in the $3-million range). In a column titled, "Why Billboard Isn't Revising Chart Policies for Lady Gaga's Amazon Deal," the publication's editorial director Bill Werde writes, "Should an album that sells for $9.99 count twice as much as an album that sells for $4.99? How about on iTunes: Should a $1.29 track count twice as much as a $.69 track? I'm inclined to say no."
So Gaga not only gets all her money, she gets her sales record. And all the controversy surrounding her Amazon-goosed digital downloads also has the net effect of intensifying the buzz surrounding her, which, of course, is the entire point. Which brings me to this week's charticle -- featuring data collected and parsed, as always, by our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm:
- On Twitter, from early May forward, a roll-up of 11 Gaga-related terms (including "gaga," "lady gaga," "born this way," "#bornthisway," etc.) has averaged 200,000 to 300,000 mentions per day.
- Gaga-related tweets peaked at just over 490,000 on the day the album was released (May 23).
- The U.S., Brazil, the U.K., Indonesia and Canada have been the top five countries tweeting about Gaga since May 1.
- The top five states tweeting about Gaga since May 1 have been California, Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania.
- According to Trendrr's estimates, 51% of Twitterers tweeting about Gaga are female (who may or may not have been born that way), while 49% are male (ditto).
- Little Monsters triumph over Beliebers! On a posts-per-hour level, tweets mentioning "Lady Gaga" have recently been repeatedly zooming (far) past those mentioning "Bieber" (see our EKG chart).
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.