Contemporary rap and old-school rock duked it out at retail this week, as Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint 3” — ultimately the stanza’s No. 1 album — and the retooled Beatles catalog faced off for sales supremacy.
Rap titan’s new Roc Nation album signed on at the top with a hefty 476,000 units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ended Sunday. Set was pushed up three days to Sept. 8 from an off-cycle Sept. 11 street date after leaking online last month.
Jay-Z pumped the disc with a live telecast on cabler Fuse of a Sept. 11 Madison Square Garden benefit show. He should get another TV boost next week after appearances with Alicia Keys on Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards and in tandem with controversy magnet Kanye West on the debut of Jay Leno’s primetime NBC show Monday.
In this week’s current top 10, Miley Cyrus’ EP “Time of Our Lives” (Hollywood) held steady at No. 2, selling 120,000 (down 22% from the previous week). Title is a Walmart exclusive.
Last week’s No. 1 album, Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You” (Arista), slips to No. 3 with sales of 88,000, logging a 71% drop.
Meanwhile, Beatlemania is dominating the catalog charts as EMI Music’s Beatles titles cumulatively scanned a whopping 626,000 units for the week.
Remastered versions of the band’s 13 original U.K. albums (and a two-CD package of uncollected tracks, first issued on CD in 1988), re-released Sept. 9, were not eligible for the top 200 albums chart, since they are considered catalog titles by SoundScan.
Beatles albums account for nine of the top 10 slots, and 13 of the top 15, on the catalog chart; Michael Jackson collections account for the other positions.
But some of the reissued albums trumped sales of current discs. “Abbey Road,” the top-selling Fab Four title, sold 89,000, more than all but two of the top 200 current releases; with 74,000 sold, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” outsold all but three current titles.
Two big-ticket multidisc boxed sets sporting new bar codes were eligible for placement on the top 200 chart. “The Beatles,” a collection of their works in stereo list priced at $260, logged on at No. 15 with sales of 26,000. Limited edition “The Beatles in Mono,” priced at $299, bowed at No. 40, shifting an impressive 12,000. Many retailers reported a swift sellout of the boxes upon release last week.
Adding up individually sold CDs plus discs in the 14-CD stereo box and the 11-CD mono box, nearly 1.1 million Beatles discs sold last week.
Wu-Tang Clan vet Raekwon scored the week’s top debut with “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2” (Ice H2O), sequel to his like-titled 1995 solo bow. Album entered at No. 4 with 68,000 sold.
Country duo Brooks and Dunn, who are packing it in after 18 years together, collected the No. 5 slot with their hits package “#1’s … and Then Some” (Arista). Two-disc package rang up first-week sales of 55,000.
R&B loverboy Trey Songz’s “Ready” (Atlantic) slipped to No. 6 from No. 3 in its second week, shifting 45,000 behind a 65% decline. Charting the week’s only percentage increase, Black Eyed Peas’ “E.N.D.” (Interscope) sold 44,000, up 29%, lifting the album to No. 7 from No. 11.
Boston emo band Boys Like Girls signed on at No. 8 with its second album “Love Drunk” (Columbia), which climbed aboard with first-week sales of 41,000.
One week shy of a year on the charts, Kings of Leon’s “Only by the Night” (RCA) dipped to No. 9 from No. 7, moving 40,000. Country-pop sweetheart Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” (Big Machine) sold 33,000, good enough for the No. 10 spot.
Both Houston and Swift can expect to see TV-driven sales jumps next week — the former as a result of her two-day stint with Oprah Winfrey on Monday and Tuesday, the latter following immense media fallout after Kanye West bum-rushed her MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech on Sunday.
Big debuts are expected next week from Universal’s hip-hop newcomer Drake and Warner’s muscular English rock act Muse.