New albums from Ariana Grande and Tamar Braxton are battling it out in a race for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart next week.
Industry sources suggest that Grande’s debut effort, "Yours Truly," may sell between 115,000 and 120,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sept. 8. Meanwhile, Braxton's second set, "Love & War," is on course to move between 110,000 and 115,000.
As of Friday (Sept. 6), forecasters think the race is too early to call and could go either way. It would seem that sentiment isn't lost on the artists' respective camps, either. Promotions are in full swing to get last minute sales as the tracking week draws to a close on Sunday. The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Sept. 11.
For Grande, Thursday (Sept. 5) saw the launch of a well received download album promotion tied to a holiday party hosted by the artist, sources say. Those consumers who purchase Grande’s album through her website (only through Sunday night), will get a ticket to one of a series of events with the singer, scheduled for later this year.
Details of the event haven't been announced, but one could imagine it possibly being a concert involving a meet-and-greet opportunity with Grande. The holiday party promotion was tweeted not only by Grande (from @ArianaGrande to her 9.3 million followers), but also by her manager, Scooter Braun (from @scooterbraun to his three million followers).
At present, Grande's album is selling for $7.99 in the iTunes Store, while also being offered for $7.98 on her website. Braxton's "Love & War" is going for $10.99 at iTunes, but just $3.99 through her official web store, and $7.99 at Amazon MP3. The $3.99 version available through Braxton's store also comes with a signed lithograph.
Both artists are appearing on the "The Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" show Friday (Sept. 6) evening as well. Braxton is sitting in with house band the Roots for the entire hour, while Grande was seemingly a last-minute addition to the guest list -- her appearance wasn't announced until late on Friday.
A No. 1 for either artist would be their first chart topper. Braxton's first album, "Tamar," debuted and peaked at No. 127 in 2000.
Not in the running for No. 1 at this point is Nine Inch Nails' new album, "Hesitation Marks." The set should move around 100,000 in its first week, and will likely start at No. 3.
On SoundScan's Building chart (below), Grande and Braxton are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking, reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants.
As for the rest of the top 10: Nine Inch Nails is No. 3, while John Legend's new "Love In the Future" is No. 4. The latter could finish the week with maybe 55,000 sold. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" is No. 5, followed by Jaheim's new "Appreciation Day" at No. 6. The R&B singer might bow with around 50,000. Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" and Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience" follow at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Bastille's debut full-length album "Bad Blood" is ranked at No. 9, and could sell around 30,000. The British band's album is led by the single "Pompeii," which rises 8-7 on the Alternative airplay chart this week. Imagine Dragon's "Night Visions" closes out the top 10 at No. 10.
|Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart|
|1||NEW||Ariana Grande||"Yours Truly"|
|2||NEW||Tamar Braxton||"Hall of Fame"|
|3||NEW||Nine Inch Nails||"Hesitation Marks"|
|4||NEW||John Legend||"Love In the Future"|
|5||5||Robin Thicke||"Blurred Lines"|
|7||2||Luke Bryan||"Crash My Party"|
|8||6||Justin Timberlake||"The 20/20 Experience"|
|10||16||Imagine Dragons||"Night Visions"|
|The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.|