HITS Daily Double
It's looking like 110k-120k will be more than enough to snag #1 on Grammy Eve.


Veteran Crooner Leads Field of Five Noteworthy Debuts (Relatively Speaking)
February is starting out much like January left off, with low-six-figure sales enough to secure the top spot on the album sales chart. (“Daddy, what’s a blockbuster?”) In the early going, it appears that next week’s beneficiary of diminished expectations will be none other than the venerable pop star Barry Manilow, whose RCA album is looking like 110k-120k, which will probably be more than enough to snag #1 on Grammy Eve.

Also shaping up as a relatively strong debut is Decca belter Andrea Bocelli, who’s trending toward 80k-90k, as is Y’know, this new “opera” genre appears to have legs. Another “serious” vocalist, RCA’s Heather Headley, is tracking toward the same range as Bocelli.

Columbia’s veteran adult band Train is chugging toward 50k, while Geffen rookies She Wants Revenge—the latest exponents of that groovy ’80s sound—are off to an encouraging start, with 25k a distinct possibility.

As for the big picture (in a manner of speaking), album sales for the week ending Jan. 29 were up 4.7%, or 445k units over last week but down 4.7%, or 492k, vs. the comparable week of 2005. The weekly total of 9.9 million brings the year-to-date tally to 40.2 million pieces. Thus, after the last full week of January, 2006 sales are right where they were last year, which is essentially nowhere. The good news, as usual, comes from the download sector, which is up 123.5% on the year so far.