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BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Usher sells ear-popping 1.1M albums


Kooperman

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Usher sells ear-popping 1.1M albums

Thu Apr 1, 7:20 AM ET

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY

Fans heard Usher's Confessions loud and clear. The R&B star's fifth album, goosed by No. 1 single Yeah!, sold a record-setting 1.1 million copies last week to top Billboard's album chart. It becomes the year's opening-week leader, edging Norah Jones' Feels Like Home, which entered six weeks ago with 1.02 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Confessions is only the 10th album debut to exceed the million mark since SoundScan began tabulating sales in 1991. No album reached that milestone in 2003 or 2002. It's also the SoundScan era's best first-week sales for a male R&B artist, eclipsing R. Kelly's 540,000 for TP-2.com in 2000.

And it fuels optimism about the industry's steady recovery from a three-year slump. First-quarter sales are up 9.2% over last year, and weekly album sales are 11% ahead of the corresponding cycle in 2003.

Usher leads 13 debuts in the top 100. Hits package Now 15 lands in second place with 343,000 copies, followed by Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits at No. 3 with 169,000, Carl Thomas' Let's Talk About It at No. 4 with 139,000, and N.E.R.D.'s Fly or Die at No. 6 with 119,000.

Usher's achievement exceeded expectations, says Geoff Mayfield, director of charts at Billboard.

But to keep its No. 1 post, Confessions will have to beat first-week sales of Janet Jackson's Damita Jo. Could Usher crush her?

"He absolutely could stave off Janet," Mayfield says. "If Usher loses 60% of sales, he'd still have 438,000. That appears to be the upside of where Janet might land based on what retailers say they sold (Tuesday). It could be a close battle."

Usher's large fan base and Yeah! airplay ensure a formidable second week, Mayfield says. Damita Jo songs haven't caught fire at radio, but the PR blitz may compensate.

"I don't recall Janet ever being this visible in the media," he says.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...opping11malbums

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