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"The demand for this project was so massive and the circumstances surrounding the release so unique that we're thrilled with the results."
——Steve Berman, Interscope Geffen A&M head of sales and marketing

EMINEM’S ON TOP
IN EARLY SHOW DEBUT

The Possibilities That Retailers Would Sit on Their Eminem CDs for Two Holiday Shopping Days Were Slim & None
Sunday was not a day of rest for record retailers—and neither were Friday and Saturday, for that matter. Enough Eminem albums were sold over the weekend to ensure a #1 debut on this week’s HITS Top 50.

In an unprecedented move, Interscope Records allowed retailers to begin selling The Eminem Show on Sunday after twice shifting the original release date of the album in an attempt to circumvent widespread bootlegging and downloading. Despite being asked not to break release date, many stores began selling the album as soon as shipments arrived last Friday on the eve of the three-day Memorial Day weekend. That move meant the album instantly became a slam-dunk to enter on top.

Interscope Geffen A&M head of sales and marketing Steve Berman was delighted with the initial sales figures, though he said he didn't know if it would affect release dates of future high-profile albums. "The demand for this project was so massive and the circumstances surrounding the release so unique that we're thrilled with the results. It would be like opening a movie on Sunday and being #1 at the box office."

Em wasn’t the only star to debut large this week. Hitting the chart like spicy salsa hitting the tummy was Columbia’s Marc Anthony, who easily took the #3 spot.

"Marc Anthony continues to prove his ability to cross over from his massive Latin fan base, and his first week sales reflect that," said Amazon.com’s Kevin Hawkins. "In fact, he should shed the title ‘crossover star’ and be considered a global phenomenon." Hawkins then spat another globule and crawled back into his shed.

Also in the Top Five were a pair of albums in their second weeks of release: Bad Boy/Arista’s P. Diddy, holding strong at #2 after a chart-topping debut, and Roc-A-Fella/IDJ’s Cam’ron, which goes #2-4. Rounding out the Top Five was Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ashanti, which jumped two spots from #7.

Just missing the Top 10 was Blink-182 spinoff Box Car Racer (MCA) at #11.

Next week: Eminem—again.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/6a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
WINNING NOMINATIONS
I.B. Bad on music's biggest comeback (12/6a)
ON THE COVER: LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT
It's De-Lovely. (12/6a)
CALLING THE PLAYS:
JOHN JANICK
We salute the winner and still champ. (12/6a)
SONG STREAMS:
'TIS THE SEASON
It's beginning to look a lot like Xmas. (12/6a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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