Jay-Z is on course to net his 11th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 next week, as "The Blueprint 3" should cruise to the top of the chart. It's tough to predict how many copies the Roc Nation set will sell in its first week, but chart prognosticators have suggested a bow of anywhere between 350,000 and 500,000.
"The Blueprint 3" was originally scheduled to drop on Sept. 11 in order to mark the eighth anniversary of the first "Blueprint" release. However, its physical release was shifted to Sept. 8, likely as a response to the set's leak to the Web on Aug. 31. The digital version of the album is exclusive to Rhapsody through Sept. 11, after which all digital providers will start selling the set.
Most of the marketing and promotion of "The Blueprint 3" had been aimed at the Sept. 11 date and this weekend. Therefore, it's difficult to properly project what first week sales will be without knowing how the forthcoming weekend will shake out.
If Jay-Z indeed debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week, it will be the rapper's 11th chart-topper, pushing him ahead of Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most No. 1 albums. Among all acts, only the Beatles, with 19 chart-toppers, have more.
Speaking of the Beatles, the Fab Four's catalog reissue campaign launched today (Sept. 9) and the Billboard charts should be flush with Beatles albums next week.
The band's two newly packaged mono and stereo box sets will chart on the Billboard 200, as the tally houses current and new releases (generally those 18 months old or less). Over on the Top Comprehensive Albums chart, both old and new albums mingle together. Thus, the individual album reissues of the Beatles' catalog will chart on the Top Comprehensive Albums and Top Pop Catalog Albums charts.