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U.S. album sales, first ten weeks
Week Sales Sales to date
1 398,000 398,000
2 269,000 667,000
3 286,000 953,000
4 263,000 1,216,000
5 164,000 1,380,000
6 134,000 1,514,000
7 113,000 1,627,000
8 89,000 1,716,000
9 75,000 1,791,000
10 75,000 1,866,000

In the United States, Ashlee Simpson's album Autobiography was 2004's biggest debut by a female artist; [1] it quickly went platinum and was certified triple platinum in September 2004. [2] Following its July 20 release, it was number one in sales on the Billboard 200 chart in its first week, selling over 398,000 copies.1 In its second week on the chart, it was displaced by Now That's What I Call Music! 16, a compilation of popular songs (including, coincidentally, a cover of "Take My Breath Away" by Simpson's sister Jessica), and sold about 269,000 copies. [3] In the album's third week, however, it returned to number one, [4] where it remained in its fourth week, at the same time crossing the one million mark in total U.S. sales, with about 1.2 million, [5] but it dropped back to number two in its fifth week, having been again displaced by the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation. [6] In its sixth week, Autobiography dropped further to number six, [7] and in its seventh week it fell to number eight. [8] The album returned to number six in its eighth and ninth week, despite selling fewer copies than in the seventh week. [9] [10] It fell to number nine in its tenth week, though sales held steady. [11] Subsequently the album fell (although it rose three spots in week 12), eventually dropping to number 51 in its 17th week (in mid-November 2004), before rising in the next two weeks—to number 50 and then 34—and then briefly falling again. It rose significantly in its 21st week on the chart, however, from 42 to 33, with a 61% increase in sales, according to a Geffen press release. [12] According to Nielsen Soundscan figures, Autobiography sold a total of 2,576,945 copies from the time of its release until early January 2005, making it the ninth best-selling album of 2004; it came behind Evanescence's Fallen, which was available for the whole year, and ahead of Now! 16, which was released a week after Autobiography. As of early March 2005, the album has sold over 2.7 million copies.

Week U.S. Canada
1 1 37
2 2 36
3 1 30
4 1 11
5 2 14
6 6 14
7 8 15
8 6 16
9 6 17
10 9 17
11 19 24
12 16 29
13 19 23
14 22 20
15 27 30
16 34 33
17 51 41
18 50 46
19 34 47
20 42 38
21 33 24
22 40 30
23 39 27
24 40 11
25 55 8
26 84 10
27 60 12
28 47 13
29 52 17
30 53 25
31 60 25
32 61 31
33 77 36
34 77 38
35 83 31
36 95 43
37 97 52
38 120 67

In Canada, the album debuted at number 37 in late July, selling about 3,000 copies in its first week [13]; it reached number 11 in its fourth week on the chart before falling. In subsequent weeks, in fluctuated on the chart, and in its 24th week it again reached number 11, before rising to a peak of number eight in its 25th week.

Some have compared Simpson's success in album sales favorably with that of her sister Jessica, who, despite having several hits since 1999, has never had a number one album (the closest she came was with the release of the special edition of In This Skin in early 2004, which debuted at number two). Simpson herself has said that she never expected the album to do so well: "I just hoped my album charted. I didn't expect it to be number one in the country! It was a huge shock."2 According to Geffen President Jordan Schur, the sales of the album in such a short period of time were exceptional: "It's unheard of in this business—even for a superstar—to sell this number of records." He also emphasized Simpson's relative obscurity until not long before the album's release, making her success that much more impressive.2 Simpson had, however, received a great deal of exposure in the period immediately prior to the album's release through The Ashlee Simpson Show, which debuted in the U.S. on MTV on June 16.

Discussing the appeal of Autobiography, Simpson emphasized its emotional sincerity in a Capital FM (London) radio interview: "I think that it's an album that's, like, very true to my emotion; I think that, you know, people like to hear when somebody's being real, and you can, like, tell, if you listen to an album, if they're being real or not..." (September 15, 2004) She also said that people of many different ages could enjoy the album; it is, however, commonly thought that it appeals primarily to teenagers.

Some observers have viewed Simpson's reality show and association with her sister as more responsible for Autobiography's success than the music itself. In July, Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of charts, described the album as the "right thing at the right time" and said: "The MTV show is a huge catalyst, radio jumped all over the song, and her famous sister opened the door. If Jessica never happened, then Ashlee doesn't get her own show and this album doesn't happen." Zena Burns of Teen People was willing to attribute more of Simpson's success to the quality of the first single, "Pieces of Me": "Ashlee has an amazing promotional machine, and it doesn't hurt to have Jessica and MTV behind you, but she also came out with an insanely catchy pop single."3

In an interview with MuchMusic, Simpson described first learning that the album had debuted at number one: "I was in the car. I just finished a show, and my dad called me, and he was like, "Guess what, baby?" I was like, "What?" He was like, "Your album went number one!" So I was freaking out. It was awesome!" [14] Her father, Joe Simpson, is also her manager. Simpson was also quoted in a press release as saying: "This is beyond my wildest dreams. I'm so excited for what's happened and what's to come. I am so thankful for everyone's support."1

Autobiography drew 2.66 million requested streams when it was featured online in the week prior to its release (July 13–20) on MTV.com's "The Leak", breaking a record previously held by Britney Spears' 2003 album In the Zone.1 The album's first single, "Pieces of Me", proved to be a major hit in the U.S., eventually rising to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 2004 ([15]) and number one on the Billboard Top 40 Tracks chart, and remaining on the charts for many months. The follow-up single, "Shadow", was not as successful, rising to only number 57 on the Hot 100 and number 27 on the Top 40 Tracks chart.

Outside of the U.S., "Pieces of Me" was a popular single in many countries, and the album itself also charted in some countries. Autobiography was released in the United Kingdom on October 4, 2004, debuting at number 31 on the albums chart; [16] the "Pieces of Me" single, released a week before the album, debuted at number four on the UK Singles Chart before falling steadily. [17] The album returned to the top 40 in January 2005, rising substantially from number 94 to number 33 in the week ending January 23, following Simpson's promotion of "La La" (the album's second single in the U.K., released on January 24) earlier in the month. In the week ending January 30, it fell to number 40, while the "La La" single debuted at number 11 in the same week.

In Ireland, "La La" also apparently boosted album sales; Autobiography rose to number 37 and then to number 27 in late January, while the "La La" single debuted at number 18. In Norway, Autobiography debuted at number 31 and peaked at number 29 on the top 40 album chart, [18] remaining on the chart for three weeks, while "Pieces of Me" reached number three on the top 20 singles chart [19] and stayed on that chart for 12 weeks. In Switzerland, Autobiography reached a peak of number 36 on the album chart in its second week [20] and "Pieces of Me" reached a peak of number 11 on the singles chart. [21] "Pieces of Me" reached a peak of number 24 on the Italian top 50 in October 2004, in its fourth week on that chart, [22] and it fell out of the top 50 in November after seven weeks on the chart. [23]

In Australia, "Pieces of Me" reached a peak of number seven on the ARIA singles chart in September 2004 and stayed there for two weeks, while "Shadow" reached number 31; in New Zealand, "Pieces of Me" reached number 32 on the RIANZ top 40 singles chart and stayed on the chart for three weeks. [24]

Peak chart positionsEdit

AlbumEdit

Year Country Chart Position
2004 USA The Billboard 200 1
2004 Canada Top 100 Albums 8
2004 UK Top 40 Albums 31
2004 Norway Top 40 Albums 29
2004 Switzerland Top 100 Albums 36

SinglesEdit

"Pieces of Me"Edit

Year Country Chart Position
2004 USA1 Adult Contemporary 30
2004 USA Adult Top 40 4
2004 USA Hot 100 5
2004 USA Top 40 Mainstream 1
2004 USA Top 40 Tracks 1
2004 UK UK Singles Chart 4
2004 Australia2 Top 50 Singles 7
2004 New Zealand3 Top 40 Singles 32
2004 Norway Top 20 Singles 3
2004 Denmark Top 20 Singles 4
2004 Switzerland Top 100 Singles 11
2004 Italy Top 50 Singles 24

"Shadow"Edit

Year Country Chart Position
2004 USA1 Hot 100 57
2004 USA Top 40 Mainstream 14
2004 USA Top 40 Tracks 27
2004 Australia2 Top 50 Singles 31

"La La"Edit

Year Country Chart Position
2005 UK Top 40 Singles 11
2005 Ireland4 Top 50 Singles 18
  • [1] US charts compiled by Billboard
  • [2] Australian charts compiled by ARIA
  • [3] New Zealand charts compiled by RIANZ
  • [4] Irish charts compiled by IRMA

ReferencesEdit

  1. Geffen press release, "Ashlee Simpson Makes History, Debuting #1 With Autobiography, Her Premiere Geffen Album", July 28, 2004.
  2. Brown, Janelle. Seventeen, "Ashlee Simpson", November 2004, pages 86–89.
  3. Gundersen, Edna. USA Today, "Ashlee Simpson shows big sister how it's really done", July 28, 2004.

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