Well it wasn’t the 1.7 million copies that The Marshall Mathers LP sold, but then it wasn’t a full week of sales either. Eminem’s third album, The Eminem Show sold 285,000 copies, according to SoundScan, in its first week of sales, which — due to a premature release date — turned out to be one day. Released Sunday, the record had roughly a twelve-hour window from when record stores opened to closing time to scan a quarter million copies, the first time an album has topped the charts with such an abbreviated sales week. Granted, there were other unorthodox factors to consider, as some retailers created Saturday/Sunday midnight on-sale opportunities for the album. And perhaps making the sales tally more impressive was the album’s absence in Wal-Mart stores.
With next week’s sales including the results from a notoriously big shopping day (Memorial Day), The Eminem Show could have a monster second week. And while it’s accelerated release schedule suggests label anxieties about online piracy, Interscope Records is also hoping its value-added practices will help move the album out of stores and into stereos; each of the first 2 million copies of the record included a bonus DVD with an exclusive interview and live footage.
How strong a Day One tally did The Eminem Show register? Well, last week’s Number One record, P. Diddy’s We Invented the Remix sold 30,000 albums fewer in its first week. But Diddy and Co. managed to still sell 144,000 copies last week to fall only one spot to Number Two. Marc Anthony’s second English-language release, Mended, sold 111,000 at Number Three as the week’s only other Top Ten debut.
While this week’s charts don’t reflect the newbie invasion as last week’s did, there were still some other strong performers. The Blink-182 side project, Boxcar Racer, sold 65,000 copies of its self-titled album, which jumped in at Number Twelve. The new Now That’s What I Call Music entry, Off the Hook, which features songs by Lil’ Bow Wow, Aaliyah, Jennifer Lopez and other rap and R&B artists, sold 64,000 copies to land one slot lower. Amy Grant’s new compilation, Legacy . . . Hymns and Faith sold 47,000 copies for a Number Twenty-one debut. And Tommy Lee’s Never a Dull Moment was the week’s other Top Fifty debut, at Number Thirty-nine with sales of 29,000.
Country music made a small surge last week, likely prompted by the Academy of Country Music Awards. Kenny Chesney enjoyed a 9,000-unit spike to climb back into the Top Ten with sales of 77,000. Alan Jackson’s Drive had a 14,000 unit increase and broke back into the Top Twenty, with sales of 50,000.
Elsewhere, things largely remained the same. If the three-day weekend provided sales boosts, they didn’t register on Saturday and Sunday. Other than the trio of rootsy releases, only Barry Manilow’s Ultimate Manilow (Number Twenty-two), Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me (Number Twenty-six), and Jennifer Lopez’s J to tha Lo! managed sales increases for albums inside the Top Fifty.
Next week looks to be a sure thing for Eminem to repeat at Number One. Less vigilant fans will have had time to get to the stores, particularly with the Monday holiday, and pick up the record. And the competition isn’t particularly fierce, as a solo release from Hootie and the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker and the T Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack to The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood are among the week’s biggest releases.
This week’s Top Ten: Eminem’s The Eminem Show; P. Diddy’s We Invented the Remix; Marc Anthony’s Mended; Cam’ron’s Come Home With Me; Ashanti’s Ashanti; Celine Dion’s New Day Has Come; Musiq’s Juslisen; Now That’s What I Call Music! 9; Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems; and Moby’s 18.