Even though Jay-Z began giving away a million copies of his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail on July 4, the set is still bound for a big week once it goes on sale July 9. Industry sources suggest it might sell 350,000 - 400,000 by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, July 14.
Magna Carta's first-week sales forecast is based partly on how well the title is performing with pre-orders through digital retailers. It became available to pre-order via iTunes on July 4.
In turn, the album is seemingly a lock for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart next week. It would mark Jay-Z's 13th chart-topper, extending his record as the solo artist with the most No. 1 albums in history. (Only the Beatles, with 19 No. 1s, have more leaders.)
Magna Carta's retail release date comes five days after it became available for free to some Samsung photo and tablet users.
Jay-Z's last solo studio album, 2009's The Blueprint 3, opened at No. 1 with 476,000 sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. He returned to the top slot in 2011 with the collaborative album Watch the Throne (with Kanye West). It started at No. 1 with 436,000.