Word has it that Ricky Martin will be priced at $9.99 by Best Buy and Wal-Mart, at the very least. And tongues are wagging that the Backstreet Boys may be priced as low as $8.99 at one of the major chains.

RETAIL SHIP-SHAPE IN NOVEMBER

Next Two Super Tuesdays Unleash Big Guns Ricky Martin, Beatles, Backstreet Boys And More
By Mark Pearson

The big guns are finally here. The fourth quarter won't see any bigger releases than on the back-to-back Tuesdays of Nov. 14 and 21.

This Tuesday (11/14) will include three monster Columbia Records Group releases, with Ricky Martin shipping some 2.5 million, "NOW Volume 5" around 2 million and Offspring another 1.5 million.

Capitol will be laying out a reported 3.3 million of the Beatles "1" collection. Other releases that day include such heavyweights as Sade (Epic), Marilyn Manson (nothing/Interscope) Keith Sweat (Elektra) and Bone-Thugs N Harmony (Ruthless/Epic).

With Jive's Backstreet Boys hitting the very next week (11/21), rumored to be shipping at least 7 million, expect the mass merchants to start getting creative in their pricing policies. Word has it that Ricky Martin will be priced at $9.99 by Best Buy and Wal-Mart, at the very least. And tongues are wagging that the Backstreet Boys may be priced as low as $8.99 at one of the major chains.

Nov. 21 also includes Motown's long-awaited (we'll believe it when we see it) Erykah Badu album, which will go out with more than a million records in the streets.

Obviously, the Backstreet Boys will own the #1 slot when it hits the charts on Nov. 28, with the only question being whether or not they can break NSYNC's record debut of 2.4 million set earlier this year. The November 21 chart will provide a bit of a horse race. Depending on whom you talk to, either Ricky Martin or the Beatles could take home the honors. Both will have a huge TV presence on the week of release. That, coupled with the fact that pricing on both is expected to do the limbo at retail, and we should see some pretty heady numbers flying out the door.

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SCHLEMIEL, SHABOOZEY
Th epitome of new country (7/11a)
GRAMMY PRE-CHEW:
THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIG 4
On your Marks, get set, go. (7/8a)
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Our editurr in chief has something on his mined. (7/10a)
SABRINA TO REACH NEW HEIGHTS WITH TOUR MERCH?
Her table's stacked. (7/10a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
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