Sony Music Entertainment, which is distributing the first the first posthumous album from Michael Jackson, is expecting big numbers from the Epic Records release Michael when it hits stores on December 14.
Billboard reports that the company will ship 900,000 copies of the album to retailers around the country, and that Sony expects to sell some 340,000 units at physical retailers during the album's first week. That, plus a projected digital-sales total of 60,000 albums, adds up to a grand total of 400,000 first-week sales, which would make Michael one of the better-selling chart debuts of 2010.
Taylor Swift's Speak Now, which sold more than a million copies in its first week, is the best-selling chart debut so far this year; 2010 albums by Eminem (Recovery), Sade (Soldier of Love) and Drake (Thank Me Later) have also sold more than 400,000 copies in their inaugural debut weeks.
Second-week projections estimate that total sales will slip to 280,000 units, with digital sales making up 8 percent of that total (22,400 copies) as opposed to the previous week's 15 percent. That second week starts December 21 and coincides with the height of holiday shopping season, and Jackson's enduring popularity means that Michael could be a popular last-minute stocking stuffer or office grab bag item.
"Breaking News," a teaser track from Michael, was released online earlier this week to controversy over whether or not Jackson was actually providing vocals for the track. The first official single from the album, the Akon-assisted "Hold My Hand," will go on sale at digital retailers this Monday.
Michael's list price will be $13.98.