HITS Daily Double
T.I.’s album looks like it'll churn right past the 500k milestone and could’ve been even bigger, but we’re getting reports of major stock problems.


T.I. Leads a Field of Thoroughbreds and Rock Makes Some Noise As Things Pick Up…Temporarily, at Least
Atlantic’s hot streak continues, thanks to rapper T.I., who’s on his way to notching up what will be the biggest debut of the year by far. The album looks like it'll churn right past the 500k milestone and might be even bigger if they can resolve several major stock problems, so the final total will depend on how quickly the label and distribution can get more CDs into the pipeline. Either way, T.I. will easily take the top spot on next Tuesday’s HITS Top 50 Albums chart. Throw in the hip-hop icon's starring role in this weekend's ATL movie, a wide national release by Warner Bros., and you have a recipe for a major chart-topper.

Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (Curb) will be the second-biggest debut next week, with 200k-220k, and that’ll also be good for #2 on the chart. Chugging along hbehind Timbo is his good friend Ghostface Killah (Def Jam/IDJ), who’s on target for 120k.

Next come the rawk representatives. Geffen’s Rob Zombie should scare up around 100k, while Victory scores another winner with Atreyu, who are trending just shy of 100k in the early going—meaning labelmates Hawthorne Heights will have some company on next week’s chart. Interscope’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs! should surpass 50k, thanks to a combination of wall-to-wall press and the band’s #1 ranking on iTunes.

In the value-added department, Epic’s repackaging of Shakira’s Oral Fixation 2 (the English version) with the Wyclef-aided smash “Hips Don’t Lie” stripped onto the disc looks like 60k right now, but she's performing the song with Wyclef on American Idol tonight, so figure a colossal bump from that. By the way, fans who bought the original pressing of Oral Fixation 2 can go to the Sony website, put in their discs and download the new song for free.

All the action being generated by these March 28 releases will go a long way to curing the market’s doldrums. This week, album sales were down about 2% from the previous week, and down around 13% compared to the same week of 2005, putting the year-to-date number about 4% behind last year’s less-than-torrid pace. Oy.