Kanye West looks to top next week's The Billboard 200 chart, according to results that will be posted later today on Nielsen SoundScan's new Building Charts feature.
All eyes are on the Sept. 11 album schedule, with anticipated new releases by West, 50 Cent and Kenny Chesney. SoundScan's recently launched Building Charts post unweighted tracking-week sales from eight leading accounts through close of Tuesday each Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, and sales through Thursday each Friday afternoon.
Billboard has learned that today's SoundScan Building Chart indicates first-day sales of 437,000 for West's "Graduation," 310,000 for 50 Cent's "Curtis" and 107,000 for Chesney's "Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates." The Building Charts offer an indication of how races shape up each week for SoundScan's final charts, which post projected national sales each Wednesday morning, extrapolated from a panel of merchants that represents more than 90% of the U.S. music market.
Retailers now contributing data to the Building Charts include Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Borders, Circuit City, iTunes, Target, Anderson Merchandisers and Handleman Co. The last two mentioned are rackjobbers that place music into mass merchants, including WalMart's stores. More retailers will be added to that panel in the near future.
Some pundits project West will surpass 750,000. His own August 2005 release, "Late Registration," was the last album to start above that mark. It bowed at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with opening sales of 860,000 copies and led the chart for two weeks. The largest sales week this year belongs to Linkin Park's "Minutes to Midnight" with 623,000, while Rascal Flatts' "Me and My Gang" had the biggest frame of 2006 when it started at 722,000.