Chart watchers were correct in predicting that Godsmack would notch its third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. The band's latest project, "The Oracle," starts with 117,000 and is one of six new entries in the chart's top 10. Meanwhile, Eminem snares the best sales week for a digital song this year. His "Not Afraid" arrives at No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart with 379,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's one of three major debuts within the top 10 of the Digital Songs chart this week.


FLASH POINTS

• The top of both the Billboard 200 and the Hot Digital Songs tally are shaken up this week.

• On the Digital Songs chart, Eminem's new single "Not Afraid" debuts at No. 1 with 379,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan—the best sales week for a single this calendar year. Also starting high on the Digital Songs tally are 3Oh!3's "My First Kiss" (featuring Ke$ha) with 190,000 (No. 3) and the "Glee" cast's take on "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with 134,000 (No. 6). "Heart" is the second-best sales week for "Glee"—only the cast's debut effort, "Don't Stop Believin'," registered a bigger sales week: 177,000 upon its debut almost a year ago.

• Eminem's monster sales haul with "Not Afraid" will also enable the tune to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. It's just the 16th time the feat has been achieved in the sales/airplay-hybrid chart's nearly 52-year history.

• Back on the Billboard 200, rock band Godsmack grabs its third No. 1 with "Oracle," one of six sets that arrive in the top 10. The album debuts atop the list with 117,000 sold. "Oracle" is the Sully Erna-led band's third straight full-length studio album to debut at No. 1. Previously, the act hit the top with 2006's "IV" and 2003's "Faceless." The new album's opening frame of 117,000 is off compared with the 211,000 starter for "IV" and the launch of "Faceless" with 267,000.

• Last week's No. 1, B.o.B's "The Adventures of Bobby Ray," falls to No. 12 with 36,000—down 57%. The set's percentage decline is in line with what most rock or rap albums experience in their second week, but since this week's chart is quite busy with new entries in the top 10, its positional slide looks more frightening than usual. It's actually the first album to fall out of the top 10 this year in its drop from the No. 1 slot. The last time it happened was in November 2009, when John Mayer's "Battle Studies" descended from No. 1 to No. 13 in its second week.

• Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is one of the few holdovers in the top 10 this week as it stays steady at No. 2 with 97,000. However, it's up a handsome 28% in sales. The album is a likely beneficiary of Mother's Day shopping, as the holiday fell on the final day (May 9) of SoundScan's tracking week. A bunch of titles on the tally see increases probably due to Mom's Day, like Michael Buble's "Crazy Love," which charges from No. 22 to No. 15 with 29,000 (up 98%). All told, overall album sales are up 11% this week compared with the previous frame. Thanks Mom!

• MercyMe's "The Generous Mr. Lovewell" is the tally's second-highest debut, starting at No. 3 with 88,000. It's both the highest-charting album for the group and the act's best sales week. Previously, MercyMe hadn't gone higher than No. 12, when "Undone" debuted and peaked at that rank back in 2004. And, in terms of sales, the bow of "Lovewell" beats the 84,000 start of "All That Is Within Me" back in 2007.

• Carole King and James Taylor join forces on the duets album "Live at the Troubadour," which starts at No. 4 with 78,000. This gives Taylor at least one top 10 album in each decade since the 1970s. He last reached the top 10 with "Covers" in 2008. As for King, it's her first visit to the top 10 since 1976 when "Thoroughbred" reached No. 3.

• Trailing King and Taylor is Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0," which descends one slot to No. 5 with 64,000 (down 7%). Following the Bieb at No. 6 is Deftones and their return with "Diamond Eyes" (62,000). It's the fourth top 10 album for the act, which last charted with "Saturday Night Wrist" in 2006 (No. 10 with a 76,000 start).

• But wait, there's more! The Dixie Chicks' Emily Robison and Martie Maguire bow at No. 7 with the self-titled debut album from their new side project Court Yard Hounds (61,000). After the Hounds comes AC/DC's "Iron Man 2" set, which falls three places to No. 8 with 55,000 (up 5%, but pushed down the chart in a busy week).

• Toni Braxton's Atlantic Records debut, "Pulse" (No. 9 with 54,000), is the final bow in the top 10 this week. Braxton's last album, "Libra" (released through Blackground/Universal Motown), debuted and peaked at No. 4 in 2005 with 114,000. In total, the new set is Braxton's fifth top 10 album.

• The top 10 closes this week with Usher's "Raymond v Raymond" dipping four rungs, even though it gains in sales. The set shifted 51,000 (up 7%) but is pushed back despite its increase, like "Iron Man 2," due to the batch of debuts ahead of it.

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 9) totaled 6.1 million units, up 11% compared with the sum last week (5.5 million) and down 7% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.5 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 109.7 million, down 10% compared with the same total at this point last year (122 million).

• Digital track sales this past week totaled 21.9 million, up 7% compared with last week (20.5 million) and up 6% compared with the comparable week of 2009 (20.7 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 421.1 million, down 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (424.5 million).

• AND NEXT WEEK:

• As for next week's Billboard 200, none of the albums that were released May 11 look likely to debut with strong enough sales to enable a No. 1 entry. So perhaps Lady Antebellum will return to the top slot with "Need You Now." Considering Godsmack's "Oracle" will likely take a 50% to 60% slide in sales, that'll leave the sturdy "Need You Now" as the likely candidate for No. 1.

• The highest debut next week will probably be either the Dead Weather's "Sea of Cowards" or the National's "High Violet." Industry prognosticators think each album will sell around 35,000 to 40,000 by week's end on Sunday, May 16. That sum should be enough to trigger a top 10 debut for both sets.

• Also looking to bow in the top 20 is the debut album from teen phenomenon Charice with her self-titled set. The 18-year-old visited both "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and QVC yesterday. Depending on how Oprah's army of viewers reacts to the big-voiced teen's album, it might sell around 20,000 to 30,000, though there's a chance it could sell more.

• Christian rock band Tenth Avenue North's second major-label album, "The Light Meets the Dark," could shift in the range of 20,000 to 30,000, which will easily be the act's best sales week yet. Its last set, "Over and Underneath," has been perched atop the Pop Catalog Albums chart for the past month, selling about 10,000 per week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

• Another rock act, of a slightly different flavor, could also see its new effort begin with around 20,000 to 30,000: metal band As I Lay Dying's "The Powerless Rise."





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.1 million units
• UP 11% from last week's charts: 5.5 million units
• DOWN 7% from the comparable week in 2009: 6.5 million units
• This week: Only the No. 1 album sells more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Chrisette Michele's "Epiphany" bowed at No. 1 with 83,000 while Ciara's "Fantasy Ride" rode onto the list at No. 3 with 81,000. The previous week's chart-topper, Bob Dylan's "Together Through Life," fell to No. 5 with 51,000 (down 59%).


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Charice's "Charice," the Dead Weather's "Sea of Cowards," As I Lay Dying's "The Powerless Rise," Keane's "Night Train," the National's "High Violet," the "American Idol: Season 9" compilation, Stereophonics' "Keep Calm and Carry On," Jackson Brown and David Linley's "Love Is Strange," We Are the Fallen's "Tear the World Down" and Meat Loaf's "Hang Cool Teddy Bear."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" broke in at No. 1 with 214,000 in its first week, while the previous week's No. 1, Chrisette Michele's "Epiphany," fell to No. 8 with 29,000 (down 65%). The only other album to debut in the top 10 was Cam'ron's "Crime Pays" at No. 3 with 43,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print