Madonna is on track to net her seventh No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as "Hard Candy" (Warner Bros.) tops Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart, released this afternoon (April 30).
Among all female artists, only Barbra Streisand has earned more No. 1s -- with eight. Currently, Madonna, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson are all tied for the second most, with six apiece.
Unweighted sales for "Hard Candy" from the Building Chart's panel of reporters through the close of business Tuesday, April 29, stood at 100,000.
Late last year, Chris Brown's "Exclusive" posted a first day number of 107,000 and finished the week with 294,000. However, sources close to the Madonna project indicate that with much of "Hard Candy's" first-day figure driven by iTunes sales, its full sales week could end up closer to the range of 225,000-250,000.
Madonna's last studio effort, 2005's "Confessions on a Dance Floor," started at No. 1 with 350,000.
Billboard estimates the 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.
Leading the charge for "Hard Candy" is first single "4 Minutes," featuring Justin Timberlake, which peaked at No. 3 on The Billboard Hot 100 and two weeks at No. 1 on Hot Digital Songs. The download has sold 1 million copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan, including 185,000 for the week that ended April 27.
Madonna first rang the Billboard 200's bell when "Like a Virgin" reached No. 1 in late 1984. Since then, she's claimed No. 1s with "True Blue" (1986), "Like a Prayer" (1989), "Music" (2000), "American Life" (2003) and "Confessions."
She also owns a whopping five sets that peaked at No. 2 -- "I'm Breathless" (1990), "The Immaculate Collection" (1990), "Erotica" (1992), the soundtrack to "Evita" (1996) and "Ray of Light" (1998).
On the Wednesday Building Chart, Lyfe Jennings' new "Lyfe Change" (Columbia) was in second place with 25,000. Other new titles appearing in that preliminary list's top 10 include the Roots' "Rising Down" (Def Jam), Portishead's "Third" (Mercury), Def Leppard's "Songs From the Sparkle Lounge" (Island/UMe), Augustana's "Can't Love, Can't Hurt" (Epic) and Mudcrutch's self-titled album.