While Eminem’s “Recovery” returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, celebrating its sixth week atop the list, the rest of the album market isn't quite partying it up.

Overall album sales in this past chart week ending Sunday, Aug. 15 totaled 4.95 million units, marking the lowest weekly sales figure since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

It’s also only the second time the weekly album sales total has dipped below 5 million. The first time it occurred was with the week ending May 30, when 4.98 million were sold.

At the time when Billboard reported on that back in June, we only had accessible archival SoundScan data going back to January 1994, so we couldn’t verify that it was the lowest sales week since SoundScan started in 1991. But since then, we’ve been able to confirm that statistic. (Nothing like verifiable bad news, right?)

Perhaps this week’s slate of new releases will perk up the overall album sales sum next week.

The Billboard 200 is aiming to welcome top 10 debuts with new sets from Kem, Iron Maiden and Ray LaMontagne — all with first-week sales projected to be in the range of 60,000 to 75,000 according to industry prognosticators. Kem’s new “Intimacy” looks like it will be the highest new entry and could shift around 75,000 according to industry prognosticators.

This past week, the highest bow came from the “Camp Rock 2” soundtrack, which started at No. 3 with a rather tepid 41,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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