Ed Sheeran should easily score his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 next week with his new release “x.”
Industry sources suggest the set, which was released on June 23, could sell upwards of 200,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, June 29.
The Billboard 200’s new top 10 will be revealed on Wednesday, July 2.
An arrival of 200,000 would earn Sheeran the biggest debut for a pop album this year, and the fourth-largest bow overall. So far in 2014, only three albums have debuted with more than 200,000 copies. Rock band Coldplay saw its “Ghost Stories” enter with 383,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan — the largest week of the year overall (debut or otherwise). In second and third place on the debut tally are sets from country singers Eric Church (“The Outsiders,” 288,000) and Brantley Gilbert (“Just As I Am,” 211,000).
Sheeran will have little competition for the top slot next week, as the next largest debut will likely be G-Eazy’s “These Things Happen” with maybe 40,000 or so.
Sheeran’s “x” is his second full-length album for Atlantic Records, following 2012’s “+.” The latter debuted and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, selling 42,000 in its first week. It has since sold a cumulative 836,000.