After 14 attempts over 31 years, Weird Al Yankovic has finally reached number one in the Billboard album charts.
Mandatory Fun will debut at number one on the Billboard 200 based on sales from last week. Yankovic had previously said it’s likely to be his last album and he’ll now concentrate on singles and music videos.
Ironically it was videos that helped promote the album. RCA, which released Mandatory Fun, refused to fund videos so Yankovic took a creative approach. Instead of the traditional tactic of releasing a much-hyped single with a video, he persuaded websites such as College Humor to each fund one of eight videos of different tracks in return for the rights to the ad revenue from putting the videos online. These were then released over the course of eight days to keep up marketing momentum.
Unlike with previous videos, the videos for parody tracks on the album were looser recreations of the original song videos, concentrating more on the content lyrics of Yankovic’s version rather than going for shot-for-shot remakes. The videos reportedly got a combined 20 million views in a week, double that of any other artist.
The strategy seems to have worked as Yankovic has come in with 104,700 album sales for the week, comfortably ahead of Jason Mraz with 84,000.
As well as being Yankovic’s first number one, it appears to be the first comedy album to debut in the #1 slot in more than half a century.