The 16th installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" series once again leads The Billboard 200. Despite a 16% decline to sales of 207,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Sound
The 16th installment of the "NOW That's What I Call Music!" series once again leads The Billboard 200. Despite a 16% decline to sales of 207,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the total is enough to push the 20-track hits collection up one to the top of the list for the week.
For the second time in its chart life, the Universal/EMI/Sony Music/Zomba compilation displaces Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" from No. 1. "NOW 16" debuted at No. 1  at the beginning of August, sending Simpson's album to No. 2 after just one week on top.
"Autobiography" returned to No. 1 two weeks ago, but slips to No. 2 this week, where "NOW 16" languished after its banishment from the summit. Sales of Simpson's Geffen debut slid 38% to 164,000 copies.
Prince's NPG/Columbia set "Musicology" is The Billboard 200's greatest gainer, notching a 35% sales gain to 99,000 copies in the wake of three dates at Washington, D.C.'s MCI Center. The artist's policy of including a copy of the album with each concert ticket fuels a six-slot gain to No. 3.
Rap supergroup 213 lands the chart's top debut with a No. 4 entry for "The Hard Way" (TVT), which moved 95,000 copies in its first week. As solo artists, the trio of Long Beach, Calif., natives hasn't seen a top tier opening in a few years. Snoop Dogg's "Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$" (Priority/Capitol) bowed at No. 12 in 2002, Warren G's "The Return of the Regulator" (Universal) entered at No. 89 in 2001 and Nate Dogg's "Music & Me" (Elektra/Asylum) debuted at No. 32 the same year.
Usher's LaFace/Zomba set "Confessions" gains 6-5 despite an 11% drop to 78,000 copies, while Maroon5's "Songs About Jane" (Octone/J) rebounds 12-6 on a 10% gain to 72,000 copies. The group also earns its third top five single on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 chart as "She Will Be Loved" jumps 6-3 this week.
Shyne's "Godfather ... Buried Alive" (Gangland/Def Jam/IDJMG) falls 3-7 on a 57% drop to 67,000 copies.
Ryan Cabrera's E.V.L.A. Entertainment/Atlantic debut, "Take It All Away," enters the chart at No. 8 with sales of 66,000 copies. Screen time as the then-boyfriend on MTV's "The Ashlee Simpson Show" stirred interest in his first set, which was co-produced by Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik. Cabrera's first single, "On the Way Down," is this week's fastest growing track at retail on Billboard's Hot 100, where it jumps 52-44.
Rounding out the top 10, Avril Lavigne's "Under My Skin" (Arista) jumps 10-9 on a 9% gain to 64,000 copies and Big & Rich's "Horse of a Different Color" (Warner Bros.) climbs 11-10 despite a 4% decline to 63,000 copies.
Memphis rock act Saliva enters at No. 20 with its third studio set, "Survival of the Sickest" (Island), which moved 39,000 copies. The set bows just one slot behind sophomore album "Back Into Your System," which opened with 69,000 copies and has sold 624,000 copies to date.
Veteran rock act Queen earns its highest rank on The Billboard 200 since 1993 with "Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You" (Hollywood). The collection moved 25,000 units and bows at No. 42 on the chart. Country artist Travis Tritt also debuts this week, pulling in at No. 50 with "My Honky Tonk History" (Columbia) on sales of 23,000.
At 10.8 million, overall U.S. album sales were down 5% from the previous week units and about 2% from the same week last year. Year-to-date sales total 398 million units, about 7% above 2003.
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