"Hope for Haiti" album shakes up pop chart

Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:01pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The "Hope For Haiti Now" charity album debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. pop chart, becoming the first digital-only release to achieve this feat, according to sales data issued on Wednesday.

The album, featuring songs performed by the likes of Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift at last Friday's nationally televised telethon, sold 171,000 copies, said tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan.

Since the tracking week runs through Sunday, the "Hope for Haiti Now" numbers represented just two full days of sales. By contrast, Susan Boyle's former chart-topper "I Dreamed a Dream" held at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart after selling 86,000 copies during the full week.

MTV, which organized the two-hour fundraiser with actor George Clooney, said the album sold an additional 60,000 copies outside of the United States and hit No. 1 on leading digital retailer iTunes' chart in a total of 18 countries.

Consumers also downloaded 300,000 individual audio performances as well as 15,000 downloads of the full video telecast, MTV said.

The telethon also featured performances by Shakira, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Bono, Beyonce, Sting, Justin Timberlake and dozens of other stars.

Watched by a total of 83 million viewers in the United States and millions more online, the event has raised more than $66 million so far including the music sales, MTV said.

All the labels, artists and retailers donated their share of proceeds, MTV said. Besides Apple Inc's iTunes, the other retailers are Amazon.com, RealNetworks Inc's Rhapsody, and Best Buy Co Inc's Napster.

Up to 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the January 12 earthquake.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Eric Walsh)