Music superstars adjust 4th quarter

Beyonce, Jay-Z, West power end of the year

Fretting about Q4 is an annual rite in the music biz, but a few execs were able to ease up on the nail-biting last week as several superstars announced entries into the Oct. 1-Dec. 31 sales derby.

Beyonce‘s third solo album, which is not yet titled, will be released Nov. 18 by Columbia with two singles, “If I Were a Boy” and “Single Ladies,” being sent to radio Oct. 7. Her previous album, “B’day” sold 2 million copies between Sept. 5 and Dec. 31, 2006.

Kanye West‘s “808s and Heartbreak” is penciled in for a Dec. 16 release and his single “Love Lockdown” was made available on his website last week. Last year, his “Graduation” sold 1.9 million between Sept. 11 and the end of the year.

It’s widely expected that Jay-Z‘s “Blueprint III,” his final release with Def Jam, will be on sale in December as well. His “Kingdom Come” sold 1.2 million in the six weeks it was available in at the end of 2006.

The trio of releases bring a considerable amount of star power to a period that was looking a bit sparse save for “High School Musical 3” and releases from Fall Out Boy, Nickelback, the Killers and R. Kelly.

Overall album sales are off 11% from 2007, with 277.6 million sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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