Beyonce's new album is nearing one million in U.S. sales and seems certain to top the Billboard 200 for a second week.
After the set blasted in at No. 1 a week ago on the Billboard 200 chart with 617,000 sold in just three days, industry forecasters suggested the surprise album would sell perhaps 260,000 in its second week on the chart (and first full week on sale).
Well, that number turned out to be far too low, so say sources. Industry contacts suggest the album sold at least 340,000 copies in the week ending Dec. 22, greatly surpassing its 260,000 forecast. That 340,000 sum should easily place it at No. 1 for a second week on the Billboard 200 chart.
The official final weekly sales figure for the album -- as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan -- will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 26 on Billboard.com and Billboard.biz. SoundScan tracks U.S. music sales on a weekly basis, and their tracking week ends on Sunday.
If "Beyonce" sold 340,000 in its second week on the chart, then that would bring its cumulative sum (through Dec. 22) to at least 957,000. That number could be higher, once all of the data from the thousands of stores that report to SoundScan has been processed.
Also notable: if "Beyonce" sold at least 340,000 in its second week, that would mean it sold more than what the diva's last album did in its first week. Beyonce's previous album, "4," debuted with 310,000 at No. 1, and then sold 115,000 in its second week (also at No. 1).
The new album was exclusively available through the iTunes store until late last week. After that, the physical CD version of the album started to reach brick-and-mortar retailers, and the download became available to other etailers.
"Beyonce's" robust 340,000-plus second-week will not include CD sales from Target and Amazon.com, as the retailers opted not to stock the album. It is, however, available at all other major sellers of music, like Walmart, Kmart, Best Buy, Starbucks and so forth.