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‘Musical’ hits high note for 4th week

Disney soundtrack continues to dominate

Disney has just a few more days to celebrate the run of the “High School Musical 2” soundtrack atop the nation’s album sales chart, as the big rap showdown and Kenny Chesney will take over chart next week.

“HSM2” grabbed its fourth week at No. 1, selling 165,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Disc, the first to see a four-week run at No. 1 in almost 2½ years, has a cume of 1.36 million.

Nielsen SoundScan reported that after one day of sales Tuesday, Kanye West’s “Graduation” had sold 437,000, 50 Cent’s “Curtis” 310,000 and Kenny Chesney’s “Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates” 107,000.

The week of Labor Day is traditionally a slow sales period, while the week after benefits from the combination of releases appealing to students getting back to school and prestige releases arriving in time for Grammy eligibility. The week was extraordinarily quiet, down 22.7% from the same frame last year.

Chiodos’ “Bone Palace Ballet” (Equal Vision) was the only debut in the top 40. Disc sold 39,000 to open at No. 5. Between Nos. 40 and 50 were Buffalo-based metalcore band Every Time I Die’s “The Big Dirty” (Ferret), which sold 14,000 (No. 41), and Christian band Israel & New Breed’s “A Deeper Level: Live” (Sony), which moved 12,000 (No. 48).

Amy Winehouse got her name out of the London tabloids and back in the music news by performing at the Mercury Prize ceremony, which may explain the 2% spike in sales of “Back to Black” (Universal Republic). Disc rose four slots to No. 9 on sales of 29,000.

But the sales story being tracked intently is the competish among West, 50 Cent and Chesney. In the weeks leading up to the Sept. 11 releases, there was considerable trash talk from West and 50; Chesney has chimed in with facts and figures about country music and its significance.

Industry experts have calculated that West’s “Graduation” could come in as high as 700,000 sold, with 50 Cent’s “Curtis” doing better than half a million, possibly 600,000, in the first week. Chesney’s “Just Who I Am” is also looking at a possible 500,000 sales.

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