Metallica's "Death Magnetic" debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 490,000 -- after only three full days of sales. The set -- the band's fifth consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1 -- was released last Friday (Sept. 12) ... Other high debuts this week come from Jessica Simpson, L.L. Cool J, Eric Benet, Gym Class Heroes and Mitch Hedberg ... In Progress Reports we've got news on Taylor Swift's high-flying debut on Hot Country Songs, Carrie Underwood's continuing hot streak and Jason Mraz's crossover appeal.



FLASH POINTS

• Metallica's "Death Magnetic," released last Friday (Sept. 12), storms in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 490,000 in just three full days of release. (Nielsen SoundScan's tracking week ends at the close of business Sunday.) According to Warner Bros., the album bowed on Friday -- instead of on a traditional Tuesday -- in order to ensure that the set received a global release in most territories on the same day.

• Metallica is the first group to see five of its albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Previously, the act was tied with the Beatles, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band, with four No. 1 bows each. It is also Metallica's fifth consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1 and its seventh release to start with over 300,000 since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data. "Death's" 490,000 opener is the biggest debut Metallica has seen since "Load" started with 680,000 in 1996.

• "Death's" debut is the fourth-biggest sales week of the year following larger debuts from Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" (1 million), Coldplay's "Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends" (721,000) and Jonas Brothers's "A Little Bit Longer" (525,000).

• In the SoundScan era, Metallica has charted with five regular studio sets (including "Death"), a live box set ("Live Shit: Binge & Purge"), an archival reissue/covers effort ("Garage Inc."), a live album ("S&M") and a soundtrack EP ("Some Kind of Monster"). Only "Live Shit" and "Monster" debuted with less than 300,000 -- to be expected, considering the kind of projects they were.

• "Death" also gives the band its seventh set to reach either Nos. 1 or 2 on the Billboard 200. Since 1991, every charting Metallica album -- save for "Live Shit" and "Some Kind of Monster" -- debuted and peaked at either Nos. 1 or 2.

• Last week's No. 1, Young Jeezy's "The Recession," drops to No. 2 this week with 90,000 (down 65%).

• Jessica Simpson's first country album, "Do You Know," starts with 65,000 and earns a No. 4 debut on the Billboard 200 and rings the bell at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. The set was preceded by the single "Come On Over," which peaked at No. 18 on Hot Country Songs in August. Simpson's last album, "A Public Affair," debuted and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in 2006 with 101,000. It spent nine weeks on the chart.

• L.L. Cool J's "Exit 13" enters the Billboard 200 at No. 9 with 44,000 -- his sixth consecutive top 10 debut. His last release, 2006's "Todd Smith," bowed at No. 6 with 116,000 ... Eric Benet celebrates a career-high week on the Billboard 200 as his new "Love and Life" bows at No. 11 with 40,000. His previous high-water mark came when 1999's "A Day in the Life" peaked where it started, at No. 25, with 44,000.

• Gym Class Heroes' fourth album "The Quilt" debuts at No. 14 with 32,000. The group's last set, 2006's "As Cruel as School Children," started at No. 93 with 10,000 ... Late comedian Mitch Hedberg debuts at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 with "Do You Believe In Gosh?," shifting 27,000. The set also bows at No. 1 on Top Comedy Albums -- his first No. 1 on that list, following two earlier top five-peaking sets.




The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New METALLICA Death Magnetic (Warner Bros. ) *11 New ERIC BENET Love & Life (Friday / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
2 1 YOUNG JEEZY The Recession (CTE / Def Jam / IDJMG) 12 13 RIHANNA Good Girl Gone Bad (SRP / Def Jam / IDJMG)
3 4 KID ROCK Rock N Roll Jesus (Top Dog / Atlantic / AG) 13 11 SUGARLAND Love On The Inside (Mercury Nashville / UMGN)
*4 New JESSICA SIMPSON Do You Know (Epic / Columbia (Nashville) / SBN) *14 New GYM CLASS HEROES The Quilt (Decaydance / Fueled By Ramen)
5 5 SLIPKNOT All Hope Is Gone (Roadrunner ) 15 12 COLDPLAY Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends (Capitol )
6 6 JONAS BROTHERS A Little Bit Longer (Hollywood ) 16 2 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK The Block (Interscope / IGA)
7 3 THE GAME LAX (Geffen / IGA) 17 14 MILEY CYRUS Breakout (Hollywood )
8 10 LIL WAYNE Tha Carter III (Cash Money / Universal Motown / UMRG) *18 New MITCH HEDBERG Do You Believe In Gosh? (Comedy Central )
*9 New LL COOL J Exit 13 (Def Jam / IDJMG) *19 New NATALIE COLE Still Unforgettable (DMI / Atco / Rhino)
10 7 SOUNDTRACK Mamma Mia! (Decca ) 20 16 JASON MRAZ We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (Atlantic / AG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.84 million units
• UP 1.3% from last issue's charts: 6.76 million units
• DOWN 25% from same week, 2007: 9.17 million units
• This week: Only the No. 1 album sells more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: the battle for No. 1 between Kanye West and 50 Cent yielded a win for the former as "Graduation" started with 957,000. "Curtis," by 50 Cent, bowed with 691,000, while Kenny Chesney's "Just Who I Am" landed at No. 3 with 387,000. The top four albums each sold more than 100,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 20 album this week, Jason Mraz's "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." (Atlantic), sold 23,000.
• The No. 20 album for the same week of 2007, Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" (Universal Republic), sold 25,000.
• Average total of the No. 20 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 39,281.


PROGRESS REPORTS

• On Hot Country Songs, Taylor Swift's "Love Story" flies in at No. 25, the highest debut by a female act since Carrie Underwood's "So Small" entered at No. 20 in Aug. 2007. "Love Story" is the first single from Swift's second album, "Fearless," due Nov. 11 ... Her self-titled debut album spawned five top 10 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart: "Tim McGraw" (No. 6), "Teardrops on My Guitar" (No. 2), "Our Song" (No. 1), "Picture to Burn" (No. 3) and "Should've Said No" (No. 1).

• Speaking of Carrie Underwood, she collects her eighth consecutive official single on Hot Country Songs as "Just a Dream" skips from No. 11 to No. 8. It's the fourth single from "Carnival Ride," following the No. 1 hits "So Small," "All-American Girl" and "Last Name."

• On the Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart, Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" bows at No. 39. It's his first hit on that chart since 2006's "Geek in the Pink" spent three weeks on the tally, peaking at No. 36 ... "I'm Yours" bullets at No. 5 on the Adult Top 40 chart this week and moves up to No. 16 on the Adult Contemporary chart.



A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Ne-Yo's "Year of the Gentleman," Buckcherry's "Black Butterfly," Nelly's "Brass Knuckles" and Lindsey Buckingham's "Gift of Screws."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: Reba McEntire claimed her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart as "Duets" landed with 301,000 in its premiere week. The previous week's No. 1, Kanye West's "Graduation," slipped to No. 2 with 226,000 (down 76%). The top five albums each sold more than 100,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print