HOLLYWOOD — For the second week in a row, another album sales record has been busted, this time by white rapper Eminem, whose sophomore disc, “The Marshall Mathers LP” (Aftermath/Interscope), sold more than 1.7 million copies in its debut week.
The album dethroned last week’s sales champ, Britney Spears’ 1.3 million-selling “Oops! … I Did It Again” (Jive), which set the record for fastest selling album by a solo artist.
Still, Spears snagged the No. 2 slot as her sophomore effort sold an impressive 612,000 copies for the week ending May 28.
Eminem’s mammoth debut may have surprised some, but not all, industry observers. His previous album, “The Slim Shady LP” (Aftermath/Interscope), has sold more than 3.4 million copies and remains in the Top 30 66 weeks after its initial release, selling 1,000 copies more this week than it did last week.
In the meantime, Eminem’s cameo appearance on the single “Forgot About Dre” from rap uber-producer Dr. Dre’s recent “Dr. Dre 2001” (Aftermath/Interscope) album, helped propel that disc to sales of more than 4.6 million in 28 weeks of chart action. Dre, who produced most of the new Eminem album, saw sales of his own album, now resting in the top 20, jump 5,000 units this week.
Top 10 newcomers
Aside from Eminem, three other acts debuted in the Top 10:
Rock group Matchbox 20 followed its multiplatinum debut with “Mad Season” (Lava/Atlantic), which sold more than 364,000 copies and came in at No. 3.
A Perfect Circle — a side project of Tool’s frontman Maynard James Keenan — saw its debut disc, “Mer De Noms” (Virgin), shift more than 188,000 records, good enough for fourth place.
Don Henley’s first album in three years, “Inside Job” (Warner Bros.), sold more than 114,000 copies and came in at No. 7.
Other noteworthy debuts came from country vocalist Lee Ann Womack — whose third album “I Hope You Dance” (MCA Nashville), sold nearly 76,000 copies and landed at No. 17 — and R&B trio Lucy Pearl, whose self-titled debut shifted nearly 59,000 discs and appeared at No. 26. The latter group features former members of Tony! Toni! Tone!, A Tribe Called Quest and En Vogue.
The single biggest gainer for the week was the various artists’ “Mission: Impossible 2” soundtrack, sales of which skyrocketed 24,000 units in the wake of the film’s theatrical debut. Aside from the Dr. Dre disc, the week’s only other significant gainer was rock group Creed’s “Human Clay” (Republic/Universal), up 6,000 units.
Universal captured the lion’s share of the current album market with 37.3% — the highest one-week mark in history — followed by BMG, 20%; Warners, 12.8%; Sony, 11.4%, and EMI, 6.9%.