His Act’s Together and Show’s on the Road—and Way Out Front
He’s baaaaaaaaaack. And he’s here to kick the Album Chart’s ass no matter who plucked his dope-ass, controversial-as-f*&k third album from the ether and pirated hell out of it prior to its release. And it wouldn't be the same without him.

That’s right: Eminem’s The Eminem Show is kicking sales butt. Not only is it the #1 album for this week, having moved some 311k over the course of Friday and Saturday, not-so-early reports from national accounts tracking sales for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday indicate that Show will EASILY break one million in sales next week, and could even approach 1.5 million.

This in spite of rampant piracy which prompted Interscope to move the album’s street date up twice and finally decide to release the album on Sunday over the past Memorial Day weekend. The unusual move, which played hell with retailers’ advertising plans and means last week’s sales largely sprung from word of mouth, was made to get the legitimate album into fans’ hands before file swapping and bootleg CDs dampened demand, even at the expense of a really splashy first-week sales figure.

Technically, since Interscope set the release for Sunday, all the sales should have counted toward the coming week’s chart. But since retailers could see no logical reason not to sell the album as soon as it began arriving Friday (and could Interscope really object, having already moved the date up twice?), the effect has been to divide Eminem’s first-week sales over two weeks.

Despite splitting weeks, however, the wildly popular rapper will not only have a strong #1 debut this week (besting P. Diddy by more than double), he’ll have a whopper of a million-plus “second week” as well. When the final numbers are in, both will likely approach the 1.8-million first-week figure for Eminem’s last release, The Marshall Mathers LP, which stands as the highest first-week ever for a solo artist.

That’s a pretty big feat in the current sales climate, especially considering that, according to reports, The Eminem Show was the second-most-listened-to CD on computers last week (before the album’s release), according to Gracenote, which operates a CD title and track-name database (formerly CDDB).

Clearly, the writing was on the wall for Eminem and Interscope, and after this successful shifting of street date, it’s likely others will follow suit with big releases. But beyond just moving the release date up, Interscope chose to include an additional element to the official product to help lure fans: The first two million copies of the album in the U.S. include a bonus DVD.

Thus, it appears the days of million-plus first (or second) weeks are not entirely behind us, provided the artist is a bona fide superstar and his/her label thinks creatively.