HITS Daily Double
"The R. Kelly album was a real pleasant surprise for us, while 50 Cent just keeps selling."
——Hastings’ Mike Fuller


R. Kelly and 50 Cent Both Top 500k, Norah Keeps Rolling, Retail Braces for Grammy Spikes
The gloom and doom pervading the record industry in recent months let up this week, as retail welcomed a pair of half-million sellers to the top of the charts.

Jive artist R. Kelly defied the experts who thought his sexual escapades would turn off fans, as his Chocolate Factory made an impressive chart-topping bow, selling 543k.

Right behind was Shady/Aftermath/Interscope rap sensation 50 Cent, whose Get Rich or Die Tryin’ continues to live up to its name, with a drop-off of 37% but a total of 504k, giving it more than 2.1 million in sales in less than three weeks.

HastingsMike Fuller, coming off his own Grammy win for Most Riveting Retail Quote in a Trade Magazine, was licking his chops over the two half-million sales winners: "The R. Kelly album was a real pleasant surprise for us, while 50 Cent just keeps selling. And I’d like to thank the Academy for continued sales into the spring."

Blue Note Grammy phenom Norah Jones was off just a single percentage point, coming in third with 134k in sales, but early reports from retail suggest that she could sell four or even five times that total next week, as her electrifying, award-winning evening starts to pay off in the marketplace.

Fuller added: "The Norah Jones phenomenon has just been given even more legs. The record has been selling like duct tape in my stores."

The rest of the Top 10 included Open Wide/Columbia/ CRG’s triple-Grammy trio the Dixie Chicks (#4), Lava/Atlantic’s Kid Rock (#5), Epic/Sony Music Soundtrack’s Chicago album (#6), Arista’s Avril Lavigne (#7), Bloodline/Def Jam/IDJ’s DMX-starring Cradle 2 the Grave soundtrack (#8)—the week’s second-highest debut after Kelly—Wind-up’s Daredevil soundtrack (#9, +25%) and WSM’s Grammy Nominees 2003 compilation (#10, +10%).

Double-digit chart jumps were registered by Interscope’s T.A.T.U. (26-13), VP/Atlantic’s Sean Paul (34-15), Aware/Columbia/CRG Grammy winner John Mayer (29-18), Epic/Interscope’s Audioslave (33-23), Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Jay-Z (44-33) and Epic’s Chevelle (47-35).

Next week we’ll find out just how dramatically this year’s Grammy telecast—which had a 31% jump in total viewers over 2002—impacted record buyers.