Beatles, Jay-Z Dominate Billboard Charts

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Jay Z, DJ Hero

It's all about the Beatles and Jay-Z this week on Billboard's albums charts.

Based on preliminary sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" shifted 476,000 copies in the week that ended at the close of business on Sunday (Sept. 13) night. That will easily give Jay his 11th No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart when the new figures are released in the morning on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

As for the Beatles, preliminary figures indicate the Fab Four's catalog of albums -- including those titles not part of its new reissue series -- sold a combined 626,000 units in the U.S. last week according to SoundScan. In the week previous (week ending Sept. 6), the band's collective albums sold just 21,000.

beatles album sales
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Jay-Z's No. 1 achievement with "Blueprint 3" will push him ahead of Elvis Presley as the solo act with the most No. 1 albums in the more-than 50-year history of the Billboard 200. And Jay will now have the second-most No. 1 albums among all acts. Fittingly, only the Beatles, with 19 No. 1s, have more.

Up through the week ending Sept. 6, the Beatles' catalog had sold 635,000 in the U.S. this year, thus, with this week's haul of 626,000, that brings the Beatles' 2009 sum to 1,261,000. In the whole of 2008, the band sold 1,393,000 albums in the U.S.

Since SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991, the Beatles have never sold less than 1 million albums in a year. The group's best year came in 2000, when the release of its hits package "1" helped the band sell a total of 7,289,000 in the U.S.

beatles album sales
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The biggest seller of the reissue series last week was 1969's "Abbey Road," which moved 89,000 copies and debuts at No. 3 on the Top Comprehensive Albums chart behind Jay-Z's "Blueprint 3" and Miley Cyrus' "The Time Of Our Lives" (No. 2 with 120,000). "Abbey" also starts at No. 1 on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. It does not appear on the Billboard 200.

All of the Beatles' individual album reissues are eligible to chart on both the Top Comprehensive Albums chart and Top Pop Catalog Albums chart. The former houses all albums, regardless of their age, while the latter is for those 18 months or older. The Billboard 200 tally includes only current and new releases.

So, the band's two new boxed sets "Beatles in Stereo" and "Beatles in Mono" will chart on the Billboard 200, while the individual album reissues of the Beatles' catalog will chart on the Top Comprehensive Albums and Top Pop Catalog Albums charts.

While "Abbey Road" was the best-seller of the Beatles' reissues last week, the rest of the series did quite well. In order of the best-sellers following "Abbey," we have: "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (74,000), "The White Album" (60,000), "Rubber Soul" (58,000), "Revolver" (46,000), "Help!" (39,000), "Let It Be" (32,000), "Past Masters Vols. I and II" (31,000), "Magical Mystery Tour" (30,000), "A Hard Day's Night" (29,000), "The Beatles in Stereo" (26,000), "Please Please Me" (23,000), "With the Beatles" (22,000), "Beatles For Sale" (21,000), "Yellow Submarine" (14,000) and "The Beatles in Mono" (12,000).

The "Stereo" and "Mono" boxed sets will debut at Nos. 15 and 40, respectively, on the Billboard 200. On the Comprehensive Albums chart, "Abbey" will be joined in the top 10 by four other Beatles sets: "Pepper's" (No. 5), "White Album" (No. 7), "Rubber" (No. 8) and "Revolver" (No. 10).

On the Top Pop Catalog chart, the Beatles will own nine out of the top 10 slots, with only Michael Jackson's "Number Ones" (No. 6 with 45,000) the lone non-Fab Four title.

Elsewhere on the Billboard 200, the aforementioned Cyrus holds at No. 2 while last week's No. 1, Whitney Houston's "I Look To You," falls to No. 3 with 88,000 (down 71%). Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. 2" debuts at No. 4 with 68,000 while Brooks and Dunn's "#1s ... And Then Some" starts at No. 5 with 55,000. Trey Songz's "Ready" slides three positions to No. 6 with 45,000 (down 65%) while the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." zips up four slots to No. 7 with 44,000 (up 29%). Boys Like Girls' "Love Drunk" debuts at No. 8 with 41,000, Kings of Leon's "Only By The Night" is down two rungs to No. 9 with 40,000 (down 11%) and Taylor Swift's "Fearless" moves down one position to No. 10 with 33,000 (down 6%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 13) totaled 6.70 million units, up 7% compared to the sum last week (6.29 million) and down 2% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (6.84 million). Year to date album sales stand at 244.1 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (284.4 million).