21-year-old rapper B.o.B arrives atop the Billboard 200 with his debut set, "The Adventures of Bobby Ray," selling 84,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan . . . It marks the first time a solo male artist has earned a No. 1 album on the chart with their debut release since 2006 . . . Also arriving in the top 10 this week are new efforts from Bullet for My Valentine, Melissa Etheridge and Miranda Cosgrove.


FLASH POINTS

• 21-year-old rapper B.o.B bounces in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week with his debut set, "The Adventures of Bobby Ray," selling 84,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It marks the first time a solo male artist has earned a No. 1 album on the chart with their debut release since Aug. 26, 2006, when Rick Ross' "Port of Miami" opened atop the list with 187,000.

• B.o.B's start of 84,000 makes it the third straight week where the No. 1 album in the United States sells fewer than 100,000 copies. That's the longest sub-100,000 run at the top since February 2009, when Taylor Swift's "Fearless" spent its last three (of 11) weeks at No. 1.

• B.o.B (given name Bobby Ray Simmons) has already had a taste of No. 1 success on the Billboard charts, as the album's lead single, "Nothin' on You" (featuring Bruno Mars), spent two weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

• Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" remains firmly planted in the upper region of the chart, as it hangs steady at No. 2 (76,000; down 8%). The album has spent all 14 of its chart weeks lodged in the top five. Meanwhile, last week's No. 1, the "Glee" TV soundtrack to its "Power of Madonna" episode, falls to No. 10 with 29,000 (down 70%).

• Rock band Bullet for My Valentine arrives at a career-high No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with "Fever," riding the act's best sales week yet: 71,000. Previously, the U.K. quartet had peaked at No. 4 with its 2008 set "Scream Aim Fire," which also claimed its then-best sales week (53,000 in its opening stanza).

• Two more debuts drop into the top 10 this week. First up is Melissa Etheridge's "Fearless Love," bowing at No. 7 with 46,000. Her last studio album, 2007's "The Awakening," debuted and peaked at No. 13 with 48,000 in its first week. "Fearless Love" is the singer/songwriter's first top 10 album since 2001's "Skin" topped out at No. 9. Her highest-charting album remains 1995's "Your Little Secret," which also arrived on the chart at its peak: No. 6.

• Actress/singer Miranda Cosgrove is the fourth and final entry in the top 10, as her debut studio album, "Sparks Fly," ignites at No. 8 with 36,000. While she contributed a number of songs to the soundtrack to her Nickelodeon TV show "iCarly" in 2008, "Sparks" is the entertainer's proper debut album.

• Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" falls one rung to No. 4 with 69,000 (down 14%), AC/DC's soundtrack to "Iron Man 2" drops one to No. 5 with 52,000 (down 32%), and Usher's "Raymond v Raymond" also descends a slot to No. 6 with 48,000 (down 8%). Rounding out the top 10 this week are the "Now 33" compilation at No. 9 (down three slots) with 30,000 (down 17%) and the aforementioned "Power of Madonna" set at No. 10.

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 2) totaled 5.46 million units, down 1% compared with the sum last week (5.54 million) and down 11% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.2 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 103.7 million, down 10% compared with the same total at this point last year (115.5 million).

• AND NEXT WEEK:

• Next week on the Billboard 200 watch for rock band Godsmack to possibly earn its third No. 1 album with its new release "The Oracle." Industry prognosticators think the set could sell in the range of 100,000 to 120,000 copies by week's end on Sunday, May 9. The act has topped the chart with its last two full-length studio albums: 2006's "IV" and 2003's "Faceless." The new album's current single, "Cryin' Like a Bitch!!," peaked at No. 7 on the Rock Songs radio airplay chart last month. This week it drops from No. 8 to No. 9 in its 12th week on the tally.

• Who else is aiming high on the Billboard 200 next week? Among the albums that could possibly debut in the top 15 are Deftones' "Diamond Eyes," Toni Braxton's "Pulse" and Carole King & James Taylor's "Live at the Troubadour."

• That's just the tip of the iceberg though, as the May 4 release schedule delivered a grab bag of disparate albums. There's alterna-pop act the New Pornographers with their new album "Together" and rap veterans Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Uni5: The World's Enemy." Then we've got Latin superstar Juan Gabriel's self-titled album, which is his first studio release in more than six years. There's also Christian pop/rock group MercyMe with "The Generous Mr. Lovewell" and Court Yard Hounds (also known as two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks) with their self-titled pop/rock debut.





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 5.46 million units
• DOWN 1% from last week's charts: 5.54 million units
• DOWN 10% from the comparable week in 2009: 6.2 million units
• This week: No albums sells more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Bob Dylan's "Together Through Life" arrived atop the tally with 125,000. The previous week's No. 1, Rick Ross' "Deeper Than Rap," fell to No. 4 with 51,000 (down 68%). Two more albums started in the top 10: rock super group Heaven & Hell's "The Devil You Know" (No. 8 with 30,000) and the compilation "Playing for Change: Songs Around the World" (No. 10 with 26,000).


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Godsmack's "The Oracle," the New Pornographers' "Together," Carole King & James Taylor's "Live at the Troubadour," Court Yard Hounds' "Court Yard Hounds," the Hold Steady's "Heaven Is Whenever," Zac Brown Band's "Pass the Jar," Juan Gabriel's "Juan Gabriel" and Deftones' "Diamond Eyes."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: 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%).