Despite rigorous promotional efforts and a price cut to 99 cents, Rihanna’s ‘Rated R’ has debuted with less than impressive numbers. As confirmed by HitsDailyDouble, the album only managed to ship 180, 198 units, placing it at #5 behind Susan Boyle, Andrea Bocelli, Adam Lambert, and Lady GaGa. Although the figure represents a personal best for the fashionista, it certainly is a far cry from the 669,843 copies that Boyle managed to sell with notably less promotion. Not only has the album failed to capture public attention in the US but the record also underwhelmed audiences in the UK where it debuted at #16, selling 32, 000 units.
Regardless of my personal opinions about Rihanna’s material, this outcome was definitely not foreseen. As one of music’s ‘it’ acts, many were expecting ‘Rated R’ to be one of the most successful releases of the year, especially given the additional attention she received from ‘the incident’ involving ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. The upset is only compounded by the fact that 3 singles were released to support the album.
It is quite interesting that the Island Def Jam’s biggest selling acts of 2008 – Mariah Carey and Rihanna – both had very disappointing releases this year. The real question here is: what went wrong? Is it that there is some form of underlying issue involving her label? Or is there some other reason for her low debut on the charts?