Spears soph album sets femme record

Stops 'N Sync's streak

Teen pop princess Britney Spears’ “Oops! … I Did It Again” (Jive) debuted at No. 1 on the national music charts, selling more than 1.3 million copies in the week ended May 21, according to sales data released Wednesday.

With these figures, Spears’ sophomore album not only becomes the second biggest debut in the Soundscan era — first-week sales for her Jive labelmate ‘N Sync’s “No Strings Attached” topped 2.4 million copies earlier this year (Daily Variety, March 30) — but also shatters all previous first-week sales records for any female artist.

After eight weeks in the top slot, the ‘N Sync album slipped to No. 4 this week.

The only other albums to sell a million copies in a week are Jive’s the Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” when it debuted in 1999, country superstar Garth Brooks’ “Double Live” (Capitol) when it debuted in 1998, and the Whitney Houston-powered soundtrack to her film “The Bodyguard” (Arista) during the holiday season of 1992.

Jive’s juice

Three of the all-time top debuts are from the red-hot Jive label, which will unleash the Backstreet Boys’ third album later this year — a release with the potential to break the ‘N Sync mark.

Spears’ stay at the top looks to be brief; based on first-day sales, white rapper Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP” (Aftermath/Interscope) is expected to top 1 million copies, which virtually guarantees its debuting at No. 1 on next week’s chart.

This week, however, Spears’ juggernaut eclipsed such top-five debuts as Seattle grungemeisters Pearl Jam’s seventh effort, “Binaural” (Epic), which shifted more than 225,000 units and debuted at No. 2; the second album by New Orleans-based rap duo Big Tymers, “I Got That Work” (Universal), which moved more than 186,000 copies and came in at No. 3; and Whitney Houston’s 2-CD “Greatest Hits” (Arista), which sold more than 157,000 copies and debuted at No. 5.

There were two other major debuts this week: Vermont-based jam band Phish’s 11th effort, “Farmhouse” (Elektra), racked up more than 88,000 units to debut at No. 12, and Compton-based rapper DJ Quik’s fifth album, “Balance & Options” (Arista), sold more than 68,000 copies and debuted at No. 18.

Off week

Aside from these noteworthy debuts, sales generally declined from last week’s Mother’s Day-inflated figures. Femme popster Vitamin C — known as Colleen Fitzpatrick when she fronted alternative-rockers Eve’s Plum — saw her self-titled Elektra album take a 9,000-unit increase over last week’s numbers.

Second biggest leap of the week went to neo-retro soul songstress Macy Gray’s “On How Life Is” (Epic), up 6,000 copies, followed by rock group 3 Doors Down’s “Better Life” (Republic/Universal), the aforementioned Eminem’s first album, “The Slim Shady LP” (Aftermath/

Interscope), and rock group Papa Roach’s “Infest” (DreamWorks), all of which were up 5,000 units.

Paced by Spears’ numbers, BMG edged Universal for the week’s current album market share crown, 24.4% to 24.2%. Then came Sony (15.1%), Warners (13.5%) and EMI (7.6%).

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