Drake blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 as "Thank Me Later" bows with 447,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the third-best sales week of the year for a single album . . . However, we could very well see the biggest week of the year next week, when Eminem's "Recovery" makes a likely bow at No. 1 with more than 500,000.


FLASH POINTS

• Drake's "Thank Me Later" bows, as expected, with an eye-popping 447,000 copies at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the third-best sales week of the year for a single album.

• The top two sales weeks of 2010 are owned by Sade's "Soldier of Love" (502,000 off its debut week in February) and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" (481,000 in its first frame in January).

• And since both Lady Antebellum and Sade are groups, the start for "Thank Me Later" is also the biggest debut week for a solo artist's album since Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" entered at No. 1 with 701,000 upon its release last November.

• However, it's looking like Drake won't stay in the penthouse for long and that his big sales frame will be quickly eclipsed. Eminem's "Recovery," released June 21, is headed for the top spot next week with a very large sales figure. Industry sources estimate the album could rack up the biggest sales week of the year, as the set should sell at least 500,000 copies by week's end on Sunday, June 27.

• But let's get back to this week's charts. Drake also has the highest new entry on the Digital Songs chart, where his "Up All Night" enters at No. 22 with 57,000 downloads sold. Katy Perry's "California Gurls" retains the No. 1 slot with 337,000 (down 6%) while three songs in the top 10 make big gains. Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me" rises three spots to No. 6 (142,000; up 42%), Drake's "Find Your Love" climbs eight rungs to No. 8 (112,000; up 46%), and 3Oh!3's "My First Kiss" jumps two spots to No. 9 (112,000; up 24%).

• Back on the Billboard 200, the top four slots house new entries for the first time since last December. The second-highest debut belongs to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "Mojo" starting at No. 2 with 125,000. It marks Petty's best debut sales week since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991 and his highest-charting album since 1980. The record's handsome bow was aided by a successful concert ticket/album download offer, which accounted for a fair amount of the set's first week.

• Next up, Sarah McLachlan's new studio set "Laws of Illusion" opens at No. 3 with 94,000. Her last proper studio album, "Afterglow," was released way back in 2003 and started at No. 2 with 361,000. In the interim, she has charted with two remix sets, a live effort, a rarities collection, a greatest-hits package and a holiday album.

• The final top 10 debut comes in at No. 4 from the new "Now 34" compilation with 88,000. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but that sales figure marks the first album in the main "Now" series—not counting its various genre-specific offshoots—to debut with less than 100,000 since the first "Now" compilation started with 48,000 in 1998.

• As for the rest of the top 10 this week, Jack Johnson's "To the Sea" falls one spot to No. 5 (68,000; down 24%), and the "Eclipse" soundtrack slips four rungs to No. 6 (55,000; down 63%). Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" drops one slot to No. 7 (47,000; down 4%), Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" holds at No. 8 (40,000; up 4%), and Christina Aguilera's "Bionic" dips six positions to No. 9 (40,000; down 64%). Closing out the top 10 is last week's No. 1, "Glee: The Music—Journey to Regionals" (39,000; down 64%).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending June 20) totaled 6.2 million units, up 9% compared with the sum last week (5.6 million) and down 9% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.8 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 142.4 million, down 11% compared with the same total at this point last year (159.7 million).

• Digital track sales this past week totaled 21.4 million downloads, down 4% compared with last week (22.3 million) and down 1% compared with the comparable week of 2009 (21.6 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 554.4 million, up less than 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (552.3 million).





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.2 million units
• UP 9% from last week's charts: 5.6 million units
• DOWN 9% from the comparable week in 2009: 6.8 million units
• This week: The top two albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: The Jonas Brothers' "Lines, Vines & Trying Times" bowed at No. 1 with 247,000 copies while the previous week's No. 1, the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D.," moved to the runner-up spot with 148,000 (down 51%). One other album arrived in the top 10: Incubus' "Monuments and Melodies" at No. 5 with 70,000.


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Ozzy Osbourne's "Scream," Miley Cyrus' "Can't Be Tamed," the Roots' "How I Got Over," Herbie Hancock's "The Imagine Project," Sia's "We Are Born," Keith Sweat's "Ridin' Solo," Trip Lee's "Between Two Worlds," Cyndi Lauper's "Memphis Blues" and Macy Gray's "The Sellout."

• Next week's album charts competes with the same week in 2009 when: in the wake of Michael Jackson's death, the King of Pop ruled with the top three best-selling albums in the United States as "Number Ones," "The Essential Michael Jackson" and "Thriller" ranked at Nos. 1-3 with 108,000, 102,000 and 101,000, respectively.