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"We did this because we discovered great new songs. Nobody who bought the Mary album to date had ever heard any of the new songs."
—— Jay Boberg, MCA President

MUCH O BLIGE!!!

New/Old Mary J. Storms Up The Charts, While Sam Slams and Jackson Still Rules.
Take a six-month-old album, remove three tracks, replace them with three new tracks, then take a fourth track and replace with a new version. So whaddaya get? If you're MCA's Mary J. Blige, you get a blazing return to the Top 10, from #47 to #10, with a 130% increase in sales, on the new version of her album, No More Drama.

"We did this because we discovered great new songs," said MCA President Jay Boberg, who also raved about the new version of the existing track, "Dance With Me," featuring Common. "Nobody who bought the Mary album to date had ever heard any of the new songs."

Boberg added the new version has breathed new life into MCA's marketing push. "It's definitely fresh. The new songs were available for the consumer to hear at the exact time the new record was available for them to buy."

It all seems to be working nicely. According to MCA Sales VP Mike Regan, the label has shipped 300k of the new version to retail. Shipments of the old version were stopped on Jan. 21. Regan estimates there are around 100,000 copies of the old version on the street.

Sales of both versions have been combined on this week's Top 50 Albums chart.

Oh, yeah, there's some other action as well—notably, the 19-15 jump for V2's I Am Sam soundtrack. Could this one be the next O Brother-style left-field hit? Are a lot of the same people who had to have that "coffee table" soundtrack clamoring for this one? Just asking.

As far as debuts go, check out a whopping #17 bow for Columbia's Barbra Streisand compilation.

This week's Top Five features some of the usual suspects, with Arista Nashville's Alan Jackson at #1, followed by Wind-up's Creed, Warner Bros.' Linkin Park, Def Jam South/IDJ's Ludacris and Roadrunner/IDJ's Nickelback.

In other news, HITS has discovered a 130% increase in circulation when repackaging itself as Billboard. Thank you. You may now go back to buying Enron stock.

NEAR TRUTHS:
THE AGENCY SAGA
What do you want from live? (6/11a)
REVENUE CHART: OLIVIA’S ARMY
Looks like she's got staying power. (6/11a)
SIGNS OF HITS LIST
We're reading the tea leaves. (6/11a)
WATCH THE FIRST OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR "FEELING GOOD"
The Black Music Month celebration continues with a classic from a legend, (6/10a)
MUSIC’S HOTTEST FIRMS: HERTZ LICHTENSTEIN YOUNG & POLK LLP
Is there a lawyer in the house? (6/11a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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