It used to be that an album release by Rihanna would set the world on fire. Unfortunately, her latest release Anti has left her career as cold as ice. The album did hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s album chart last week, selling about 124,000 copies and totaling about 166,000 copies when album streaming equivalents were added.
Rihanna’s previous album Unapologetic debuted at No. 1 with 238,000 copies sold. At the time, Billboard didn’t calculate album streaming equivalents. It’s obvious that Rihanna’s first full week album sales have dropped dramatically. Even more sad is that this week, her album is set to take a huge 62 percent drop in sales.
Based on sales alone, Rihanna is set to sell only about 48,000 copies (without streaming added) according to Hits Daily Double, which very closely predicts Billboard’s numbers. According to the Sun, Rihanna is actually doing a lot worse in the UK.
“For years Rihanna has been the hottest thing in music — but the pot-loving singer’s ability to bag a No. 1 album has vanished in a puff of smoke.”
The Sun added that Rihanna’s album struggled to hit No. 7 on the UK charts, marking it the first time in six years that one of her albums hasn’t gone to No. 1. They also added that the album has been one of the most disorganized and disastrous album releases in music history.
Even though Rihanna’s latest chart performance is considered a disappointment, Anti has, for the most part, received good reviews. The best review is from Entertainment Weekly.
“Rihanna’s most intriguing project yet, even if there’s no clear smash amongst its 13 tracks. In many ways it’s her most deliberately uncommercial album yet, but don’t let the low-key THC vibes fool you: every harmony, drum beat, and transition on Anti is painstakingly finessed.”
Rolling Stone gives Anti a four-star review.
“Ultimately, Anti‘s sound is more than just another new costume for a singer who’s dabbled in everything from flirty teen-pop to aggressive trap over the last decade-plus. This is an album that forces us to question the boxes we’ve placed Rihanna in all along,” claims reviewer Brittany Spanos.
The album has received mixed reviews on Twitter.
Anti is not Rihanna's best album but i love it because it's such a different sound Very alternative which i love & lyrically true to herself— Chris Fassbender (@chantelltelle) January 29, 2016
Rihanna isn’t the only female megastar in the industry who has trouble selling albums these days. Madonna’s Rebel Heart sold very few copies in 2015 when compared to her past albums. However, unlike Rihanna, at least Madonna has an excuse; Rebel Heart was leaked in full three months before its official release date.
Then, there is Mariah Carey. 2014’s Me I Am Mariah: The Elusive Chantuese only sold 58,000 copies in its first release of release, making Rihanna’s Anti look like Thriller. Mariah’s disappointing sales lead many to call it one of the biggest album flops in the history of pop music. The album plummeted off the charts almost instantly as well.
Rihanna’s Anti is at least doing better than Britney Spears’ last album, which sold only 107,000 copies in its first week of release back in December of 2013 — a time when albums sell twice as much as they do during the rest of the year.
Rihanna’s Anti may be a flop, but in this day and age, album sales don’t mean as much as concert ticket sales. Rihanna will kick off her tour in support of Anti on February 26 in San Diego, CA.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]