Eric Church’s new album, “The Outsiders,” is set to crash in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart next week — with the best sales week of the year.
Industry sources forecast the country album, which was released on Feb. 11, to sell between 275,000 and 300,000 by the end of the tracking week on Feb. 16.
That would easily mark Church’s best week ever, and the largest for any album since the week ending Dec. 29, 2013, when Beyonce’s self-titled album sold 310,000 in its third week on the chart, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Church will also log the best week for a country album since Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” blew in with 528,000 on the Billboard 200 chart dated Aug. 31, 2013.
The new Billboard 200’s top 10 will be revealed on Feb. 19.
“The Outsiders” follows Church’s surprise No. 1 album “Chief,” which opened with 145,000 in 2011. At the time, Church was the first core country act since 1994 to have a No. 1 album without having also had a No. 1 single on the Country Airplay chart.
Since then, Church has tallied three No. 1s on the Country Airplay chart, with “Drink In My Hand,” “Springsteen” (both from “Chief”) and “The Only Way I Know” (a collaborative song with Jason Aldean and Bryan).
Church’s new album has so far spawned two top 30 hits on the Country Airplay chart: the title track (which peaked at No. 25) and “Give Me Back My Hometown” (No. 14). On the hybrid Hot Country Songs chart (which blends airplay, sales and streaming data), “The Outsiders” hit No. 6, while “Give Me Back My Hometown” has reached No. 7. Last week, he debuted a third cut, “A Man Who Was Gonna Die Young,” at No. 24.