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Amazon helps Lady Gaga top 1 million in sales

Offering the star's new album for just 99 cents a pop last week, Amazon helped Lady Gaga reach a new record in digital sales.

Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' surpassed 1 million in unit sales in its first week.
Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' surpassed 1 million in unit sales in its first week. Screenshot by CNET

Lady Gaga's new album "Born This Way" sold more than 1.1 million digital and physical copies in its first week and set a new record for digital sales, thanks in part to a pricing scheme from

Testing the waters of digital music prices, the retail giant offered the pop singer's new album for a mere 99 cents for one day on Monday, May 23. Hoping to lure more than the usual Lady Gaga fans, Amazon threw in 20GB of cloud storage as part of the deal. After technical problems due to overwhelming demand on that day, Amazon tried once more last Thursday, offering the 99-cent MP3 version of the album for a single day.

Boosted by Amazon's retail push, "Born This Way" hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 1,108,000 copies altogether and making it the 17th album to sell a million in a single week since 1991 when Nielsen's SoundScan started tracking such data, according to Billboard.

Amazon itself accounted for more than 440,000 of the total 662,000 digital downloads of "Born This Way," according to Billboard.

Though executives at Lady Gaga's record company, Universal Music Group, expected the album to hit the Billboard 200, they were eyeing unit sales of only around 400,000 copies. Instead the album sold between 650,000 and 700,000 on May 23, the first day of Amazon's pricing blitz, Billboard said. That number then shot up to more than a million following Amazon's second push on Thursday.

The pricing plan was considered controversial by some, according to the Associated Press. Using the promotion as a way to drum up business for its cloud services, Amazon actually lost money on the deal as it still had to pay Universal Music Group the full wholesale price for each copy of the album. Physical music stores were also reportedly none too happy with the pricing advantage that Amazon was able to score.