Kanye West's "Graduation" easily leads the star-studded class of Sept. 11 releases, posting The Billboard 200's largest sales total in more than two years. Nielsen SoundScan will show West's album mov
Kanye West's "Graduation" (Def Jam) easily leads the star-studded class of Sept. 11 releases, posting The Billboard 200's largest sales total in more than two years. Nielsen SoundScan will show West's album moved 957,000 during its first six days when the tracking service refreshes its charts tomorrow morning (Sept. 19).
Also pumping album volume are 50 Cent's "Curtis" (G-Unit/Interscope), which will lock down the No. 2 slot with 691,000 sold. Kenny Chesney's "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates" (BNA/Sony BMG Nashville) will bow at No. 3 with 387,000 copies.
The total for West's "Graduation" is the largest by any album since 50 Cent's "The Massacre" opened with 1.1 million copies in March 2005. West's own August 2005 album, "Late Registration," was the last album to surpass 800,000 copies when it began with 860,000.
While West beats 50 Cent in the celebrated clash between rappers, the real winners are music merchants. With the "High School Musical 2" soundtrack at No. 4 selling 133,000 copies, the top four titles alone account for 2.2 million units, more than all titles combined on last week's entire Billboard 200.
West's new album ranks 15th among all sales weeks since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking in 1991. The double punch provided by "Graduation" and "Curtis" also marks just the second time in that era that two albums have bowed in the same week with totals surpassing 600,000 copies.
The last such occasion was in September 1991, when Guns N' Roses' "Use Your Illusion II" led The Billboard 200 with 770,000 copies in the same week that the band's companion album "Use Your Illusion I" bowed at No. 2 with 685,000, a pair of numbers now beaten by West and 50's totals.
"Graduation" also rings up the largest week yet by a digital album download, starting with 133,000, beating the prior record of 102,000, set earlier this year by Maroon 5's "It Won't Be Soon Before Long."
50 Cent and Chesney will occupy the same ranks on Top Digital Albums as they do on The Billboard 200, the former with 58,000 downloads and Chesney's with 36,000. Nielsen SoundScan has been tracking digital sales since midway through 2003.
Chesney's overall total of 387,000 copies marks the largest sales week for a country album since the May 2006 arrival of Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way," which opened at 526,000 copies.