Beyonce's fourth studio album, "4," is headed for a No. 1 debut next week on the Billboard 200 chart with maybe 300,000 copies sold by week's send on Sunday, July 3, according to industry prognosticators. If it starts at the top, it will be her fourth No. 1 solo album -- her three previous studio sets all hit No. 1 as well.
A 300,000 launch is off from the 482,000 (according to Nielsen SoundScan) that greeted her last effort, 2008's "I Am... Sasha Fierce" and the 541,000-first week for 2006's "B'Day." Still, 300,000 could be viewed as a handsome bow in today's soft album-sales market and considering the set has yet to launch an across-the-board smash single.
Its lead-off track, "Run the World (Girls)," has so far peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 424,000 downloads in the U.S. That stands in stark contrast to "Sasha Fierce," which was ushered in by two hit lead tracks: "If I Were a Boy" (No. 3) and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" (No. 1).
So far, "4," is Beyonce's first album that didn't see its lead single reach the Hot 100's top 10. Her 2003 "Dangerously In Love" debut launched with "Crazy In Love" (No. 1 for eight weeks) while "B'Day's" first single, "Deja Vu," hit No. 4.
Beyonce's "4" was one of a number of big albums that hit retailers on Tuesday, June 28. Among the other titles headed for a top five bow next week are rapper Big Sean's "Finally Famous" and Selena Gomez and the Scene's "When the Sun Goes Down." They are perhaps going to sell 90,000 and 80,000, respectively, in their debut frames.