HITS Daily Double


New Releases Strong Out of the Box, But Are They Big Enough to Unseat Usher?
Two new releases hitting the street yesterday are sure to stir up the album chart’s upper reaches next week: Mario WinansHurt No More (Bad Boy/Universal) and Prince’s Musicology (Columbia).

According to early reports from national accounts, the Winans album appears headed for first-week sales of around 200k or just shy of it. The Prince album is also selling strongly, but a brewing controversy over how album giveaways (or sales bundled with concert tickets, depending whom you ask) will be counted makes projecting his first-week figure difficult.

Without the giveaways, reports indicate Prince’s sales look markedly behind Winans. But if the albums distributed at the Purple One’s concerts are factored in, he could come closer to the Winans figure.

The question then is whether sales at or near 200k will be enough to wrest #1 from LaFace/ZLG's Usher, who has owned the top chart berth for four weeks running. This week, Usher notched nearly 286k, falling off 37% from the previous week’s figure. If his sales taper similarly in the days ahead, Winans (and potentially Prince) could give him a serious challenge.

Also among yesterday’s strongest-performing releases is Ghostface’s The Pretty Toney Album (Def Jam), which is on track to sell 70-80k for the week. Could a big weekend nudge it closer to 100k? Stay tuned.