Jay-Z remains in the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 albums chart, with his new album "The Blueprint 3" shifting 298,000 copies (down 37%) in its second week. The set bowed atop the list last week with 476,000.
Traditionally, No. 1-debuting albums that start with monster sales weeks have a steeper second-week decline. Jay-Z's drop, however, was fairly soft, in part because last week was the album's first proper week of availability. Though "The Blueprint 3" had its Sept. 11 release pushed up to Sept. 8, many retailers reportedly didn't have the album until later that week. Jay-Z also performed on the premiere of NBC's "Jay Leno Show," and the residual buzz from his MTV Video Music Awards performance likely bled into sales.
At No. 2 on the Billboard 200, Whitney Houston's "I Look To You" climbs one spot with 156,000 -- up 77%. The album makes the great sales gain this week thanks to Houston's much-publicized two-day stand on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." In three weeks, "I Look to You" has sold 548,000 copies.
Following Houston is the first of five debuts in the top 10: Muse's "The Resistance" at No. 3 with 128,000 copies -- a career-high for the act. That figure more than doubles the band's previous best week, when 2006's "Black Holes and Revelations" debuted and peaked at No. 9 with 48,000.
Kid Cudi is up next with his debut effort, "Man on the Moon: The End of Day," which starts at No. 4 with 104,000 sold. The album is powered by two top 50 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: "Day 'N' Nite' (No. 3) and "Make Her Say" (No. 43).
Drake's seven-song EP, "So Far Gone," gives the rapper his first taste of the Billboard 200, starting at No. 6 with 73,000. His proper full-length debut should surface in early 2010.
As for the non-debuts in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, Miley Cyrus' "The Time Of Our Lives" EP falls three rungs to No. 5 with 75,000 (down 38%), Taylor Swift's "Fearless" moves up two slots to No. 8 with 46,000 (up 37%) and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." slips three places to No. 10 with 40,000 (down 8%). Swift's big gain was likely the result of both her performance on the MTV Video Music Awards and the endless buzz surrounding Kanye West's hijacking of her Best Female Video acceptance speech.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 20) totaled 6.42 million units, down 4% compared to the sum last week (6.71 million) and down 7% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (6.92 million). Year to date album sales stand at 250.6 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (291.4 million).