Despite leaking two weeks ahead of schedule, Eminem’s June 21st disc Recovery will set the record for the biggest sales week of 2010. Last year, Eminem’s comeback album Relapse nearly nailed down Nielsen SoundScan’s bestselling week of 2009 after moving 608,000 copies, but his mark was topped by Susan Boyle’s 701,000 opening week. Early sales numbers for Recovery indicate Eminem could surpass Relapse‘s debut, Billboard reports, and the LP is almost certain to outsell Sade’s Soldier of Love‘s 502,000 copies and the 447,000 total posted by Drake’s chart-topping Thank Me Later on this week’s Billboard 200.
Recovery will mark Eminem’s sixth consecutive Number One album, and his sixth Number One since 2000: The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, 8 Mile soundtrack, Encore and Relapse have all topped the charts for Eminem, who was the bestselling artist of the 2000s. Em’s debut The Slim Shady LP is the only of his studio albums not to top the charts, settling for Number Two in 1999. However, Eminem has also topped the charts with the 2005 greatest hits collection Curtain Call and a pair of D12 albums, Devil’s Night and D12 World.
Even though Eminem’s blockbuster week will provide a lift to the slumping record biz, overall sales will still likely fall short of the totals from this same week in 2009, when Michael Jackson’s catalog flew off shelves following the King of Pop’s death. Drake will likely command the Number Two next week, while Miley Cyrus’ Can’t Be Tamed is also expected to break the 100,000-copy plateau in its debut week to finish Number Three.
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Recovery‘s durability despite its premature leak demonstrates Eminem’s extremely broad appeal — he draws his audience from multiple demographics that still go to their local retailer and purchase music. Sade and Susan Boyle have benefited on the chart partially because their audiences are slightly older, and therefore less likely to illegally download music. While the biggest rock albums of the past year — U2’s No Line on the Horizon, Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown — all limped past the million-selling mark after months on the chart, hip-hop albums have continued to fare well overall, an achievement highlighted by Lil Wayne’s platinum-selling debut week for Tha Carter 3 in 2008, the most recent (and perhaps last) album to accomplish that feat. Hip-hop isn’t entirely immune to the downturn, though: Wayne’s Rebirth fell well short of its predecessor and even Drake didn’t sell as many copies as anticipated.