It’s all about Lil Wayne this week as The Billboard 200 prepares for the arrival of “Tha Carter III.” The rapper’s new Cash Money/Universal album will easily bow at No. 1 next week, as it leads Nielsen SoundScan’s Building Chart, to be released this afternoon (June 11) at 5 p.m. ET.
Unweighted first-day sales of “Tha Carter III” at nine leading accounts through the close of business yesterday (June 10), stood at 423,000. Sources close to the album project “Carter” could shift between 850,000-950,000 in its first full week.
That would easily give Wayne the biggest sales week of the year, surpassing the 463,000 start that greeted Mariah Carey’s “E=MC2,” and the best since Kanye West’s “Graduation” started with 957,000 last year.
To compare, “Graduation” saw a first-day Building number of 437,000 from eight accounts, about 3% more than that posted by “Carter.”
Billboard estimates the nine merchants who report to Nielsen SoundScan’s Building chart — Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Circuit City, iTunes, Starbucks, Borders, Target, Anderson Merchandisers and Handleman Co. — comprise about 80% of all U.S. album sales.
Starbucks was not part of the Building Chart panel when West’s title came to market last Sept. 11.
Other albums likely to make top 10 debuts next week, based on first-day numbers reflected on Nielsen SoundScan’s Building chart: Plies’ “Definition of Real” (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic), N.E.R.D.’s “Seeing Sounds” (Star Trak/Interscope), Alanis Morissette’s “Flavors of Entanglement” (Maverick/Warner Bros.) and My Morning Jacket’s “Evil Urges” (ATO).