HITS Daily Double
West’s huge first week is a testament not only to the urbane rapper’s broad appeal but also to a brilliant setup by Def Jam/IDJ.


Fans Flock to Retail to Grab Up the Follow-up to Kanye West’s 2004 Breakthrough
The college dropout has graduated magna cum laude, with early returns of Kanye West’s just-released Late Registration indicating the album will reack up a first-week tally north of 800k, with a real shot at 850k.

The album is a testament not only to the urbane rapper’s broad appeal but also to a brilliant setup by Def Jam/IDJ, as the red-hot label continues to ride high under the leadership of L.A. Reid and Shawn Carter. I mean, the cover of Time the week before release—that’s getting it done!

Tony Yayo, the latest G-Unit member to release an album, is rapping his way toward a strong showing in the vicinity of 225k on his Interscope debut, putting UMG and hip-hop in the first two slots on next week’s chart.

Shooting for #3 are Brooks & Dunn (Arista Nashville), with 100k-125k in their sights, as Joe Galante and Butch Waugh’s RCA Label Group stays on its hot streak heading into the all-important Q4.

And that’s not all, folks. The major-label debut of indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie (Atlantic) should finish in the 70k-80k neighborhood, while Rihanna, another emerging artist from Def Jam/IDJ, should bow at 60k-65k. Warner Bros. veteran Eric Clapton is on his way to 40k-50k, the same range as Cold, from embattled Lava. Another up-and-coming rock band, Virgin’s 30 Seconds to Mars, is off the launch pad and rocketing toward 30k, putting the Jared Leto-led group in a contest with Columbia’s Our Lady Peace (25k-30k), half of whose sales are expected to be on the DualDisc format. Not far behind will be From Autumn to Ashes (20k), as happening indie Vagrant continues to delight distributor Fontana.

The other noteworthy debut is Columbia/Legacy’s two-CD soundtrack to No Direction Home, the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary on the young Bob Dylan, which looks good for 25-30k nearly a month before PBS airs it in two parts (9/26-27). The film will also be released in expanded form on DVD. And by the way, it’s brilliant.

So the music biz is experiencing a dramatic turnaround after going in the dumper last week, experiencing a 6% drop from the previous week, while plummeting by 11.3% from the comparable week of 2004. The weekly tally of 9.6 million units represents the second lowest figure of the year; in the third week of January, 9.5 million were sold. Year-to-date sales are 364.6 million, down 8.3%, or 33.1 million, from last year at this point.