The Jonas Brothers are on track to score their first No. 1 album next week on The Billboard 200, as "A Little Bit Longer" (Hollywood) leads Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart, released this afternoon (Aug. 13).
Unweighted sales of "Longer" through the close of business yesterday (Aug. 12) stood at 201,000. Billboard estimates the nine merchants who report to Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart -- Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Circuit City, iTunes, Starbucks, Borders, Target, Anderson Merchandisers and Handleman Co. -- comprise about 80% of all U.S. album sales.
Both Hollywood and its distributor, Universal, are projecting that "Longer" could finish the week with a number between 675,000 and 725,000. Based on the percentage of first-day sales that recent albums by Carrie Underwood, Usher, Mariah Carey and Jonas Brothers labelmate Miley Cyrus contributed to their first-week sales, Billboard estimates that "Longer" could surpass 600,000 and might start with as many as 725,000.
Hollywood GM Abbey Konowitch says, "We knew the fan base was as fanatical as it gets, but what was done by the group and us in the past few months, in a way, flies in the face of conventional marketing." That includes the band having played the bulk of the new album live in concert since last fall and encouraging fans to share YouTube performances of the songs.
Konowitch also calls out iTunes' "Countdown to 'A Little Bit Longer'" campaign as a key ingredient in the ramp up towards the release. Four individual tracks from the set were put up for sale in the weeks previous to the album's street date, and purchasers could then use iTunes' Complete My Album offer to download the full set yesterday.
It's expected that "Longer" will see a huge digital download number when final figures come in next week. Earlier this year, Coldplay racked up the biggest-ever week for a digital album when "Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends" sold 288,000 downloads, 40% of the 721,000 total copies it sold in its first week.
The Jonas Brothers may pull off another chart feat next week, too. With "Longer" an all-but-lock for No. 1, there's a good chance the sibling trio's sophomore set, "Jonas Brothers," now ranked No. 11, could return to the top 10. If they place two albums in the top 10 next week, it'll be the first time a group has done so since 'N Sync on the chart dated Jan. 2, 1999.