Eminem extends his curtain call to a second straight week as "Encore" remains atop The Billboard 200 that reflects the final sales week of 2004. Despite a 54% drop to sales of 198,000 copies in the Un

Eminem extends his curtain call to a second straight week as "Encore" remains atop The Billboard 200 that reflects the final sales week of 2004. Despite a 54% drop to sales of 198,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope set increased its time at No. 1 to four non-consecutive weeks.

With the holiday buying frenzy past, overall U.S. album sales plummeted 51% from the previous week to 15.9 million units. (Because 2003's tracking period only contained 52 weeks, this 53rd week of 2004's Nielsen SoundScan tracking period cannot be compared with the previous year.)

At 681 million units, the final sales tally of 2004 shows a 3.8% increase over 2003.

Reflecting the much quieter retail picture of the post-Christmas week, The Billboard 200 sees a number of considerable shifts, as well as a trend of chart gains in spite of an average of 50% sales slumps across the top 10 titles.

Green Day's "American Idiot" leads the pack, rocketing 9-2 despite a 40% slide to sales of 170,000 copies, while a 34% decline to 144,000 nonetheless sets the stage for a 15-3 leap for Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz' "Crunk Juice" (TVT).

"MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents Jay-Z and Linkin Park: Collision Course" (Machine Shop/Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) bolts 8-4 on sales of 135,000, a 52% drop, while Ludacris' "Red Light District" (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South) moves 10-5 on 126,000 units, a 51% fall.

Even though sales of Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) fell 63%, sales of 117,000 are enough to hold the set steady at No. 6 for a second week. Tupac Shakur's "Loyal to the Game" (Amaru/Interscope) rebounds 13-8 despite a 41% slide to 115,000.

Just two top 10 titles buck the trend, with falling chart positions to match dwindling sales. The 17th installment of "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (Sony BMG/Universal/EMI/Zomba/Capitol) drops 2-9 on a 68% dip to 113,000 copies and Destiny's Child's "Destiny Fulfilled" (Sony Urban Music/Columbia) tumbles 4-10 on a 70% slide to 105,000.

The sole top 10 debut comes from R&B newcomer John Legend, a former session piano player, whose solo debut "Get Lifted" (Sony Urban Music/Columbia) bows at No. 7 on the strength of 116,000 copies sold in its debut week.

On the entirety of The Billboard 200, just three albums saw a sales increase over the previous week, led by Fox/Epic/Sony's "Garden State" soundtrack. The set -- which features cuts from Coldplay, the Shins and Iron & Wine, among others -- is the chart's greatest gainer and jumps 133-51 on a 31% gain to 37,000. Zach Braff's debut as a writer/director, "Garden State" was also released last week on DVD.

The other titles seeing sales gains in the post-Christmas week were "The Phantom of the Opera" soundtrack (Really Useful/Sony Classical/Sony), which jumps 104-44 on a 9% increase to 40,000 copies, and Snow Patrol's "Final Straw" (A&M), which springs 192-91 on a 14% rise to 20,000 copies.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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