Final tallies late last night by hitsdailydouble.com have Yankovic’s new album Mandatory Fun coming in at Number 1 on the Billboard album charts, giving the veteran comedian his first such chart-topper of his career.
And you thought the biggest thing to happen to Yankovic this week was going to remain Monday’s 25th anniversary of UHF.
Instead, Yankovic will be celebrating album sales dominance — relatively speaking. Mandatory Fun sold 104,007 copies in its first week, which was more than enough to defeat Jason Mraz’ Yes!, which also made its Billboard debut after an opening sales tally of 83,941. Late last week it was projected that Yankovic would take the top spot, and the final few videos in his eight-day daily series kept his album buzz strong.
So without virtually any FM radio play and without any live appearances or concerts, Yankovic scored a Number 1 album based essentially on YouTube videos. His most popular, according to reports, were his riff on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (as “Word Crimes”) followed by his parodies of Pharrell’s “Happy” (“Tacky”), Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” (“Handy”), and Lorde’s “Royals” (“Foil”).
He also had a bit of laughable “controversy” to help visibility as well, as UK groups accused him of being offensive and “abelist” for his use of the word “spastic” in “Word Crimes.” He apologized via Twitter.
It’s interesting to note the savvy marketing campaign that gave the 54-year-old Yankovic his coup. Thanks to an onslaught of eight videos released in as many days, his viral presence shot through the roof in the tight period preceding the release of “Fun.” The exposure Yankovic earned via mobile and social networks leaped an astounding 3,391% between the weeks of July 7-13 and July 14-20.
According to Kontera, the Amobee Brand measurement company for web analytics, Yankovic’s video exposure in that period obliterated not just Mraz’s, but that of every other major music star. His closest competition, Beyonce, had roughly half as much exposure as the satirist. Yankovic also dwarfed the viral play of stars as big as Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z in the last week.
More incredibly, the comic received no money to fund his cheeky clips from his record company. Instead he cajoled the funds from online brands like Funny or Die, Yahoo and College Humor. They then played his clips nonstop, helping to spread them to social media accounts around the country.
Mandatory Fun sold for roughly $5 and $6 digitally and $10 for the compact discs, according to reports. And there’s some local flavor on the record, as well: Boston producer Benny Grotto of Mad Oak Studios in Allston is credited with production on the Pixies “style parody” track “First World Problems.”