With Eminem's new album on course for a blockbuster first week, are there any other albums left this year than can also rack up huge, half-million-plus debuts?
Yes. But that list is very short. As in: There's just one album on it: One Direction's "Midnight Memories."
As previously reported, Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" is set to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week with around 750,000 sold (through the tracking week ending Nov. 10). It will tally the second-biggest sales week of the year, after the debut of Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience," which bowed with 968,000 in March, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
According to forecasts from label sources, One Direction's "Midnight Memories," due out Nov. 25, could debut with a little over 500,000.
It's the third album from the British vocal group, and follows their last release, "Take Me Home." That set bowed with 540,000 in its first week back in November of 2012.
There are, of course, other albums due out this year that will earn significant debuts. But none -- at least at this point -- are expected to come close to the bows of Eminem and One Direction.
(You may wonder: How can industry sources forecast first-week sales for an album before it has come out? Sales projections are based on a number of indicators. They include orders from physical retailers, pre-orders on digital services like iTunes, first-week performance of comparable albums, media exposure, radio and YouTube trends for the album's singles, and so on.)
Lady Gaga's "ARTPOP" album, out on Monday, Nov. 11, may sell around 300,000 to 350,000 if early industry forecasts hold. Her last album, 2011's "Born This Way," debuted with 1.1 million sold. (However, it benefited from an Amazon MP3 offer that sold it for 99 cents on two days of its debut week. Billboard estimates that the 99 cent version resulted in 440,000 copies of the album's first-week haul.)
Also on the horizon is Britney Spears' "Britney Jean," which is scheduled for release on Dec. 3. While it's a bit early to predict what Spears will sell, industry prognosticators indicate it could start slower than her last album. Her previous release, 2011's "Femme Fatale," launched with 276,000 at No. 1.