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"After what has been one of the most lackluster Januarys in memory, it’s great to see some records that are creating some real excitement in the marketplace. The heat surrounding the 50 Cent release is astounding. Interscope did a phenomenal job of setting this record up and reacting quickly to the piracy issues."
——Hastings’ Mike Fuller
50 CENT-SATION!!!
Four Bits, Half a Buck, a Piece of Change… Whatever you Call It, This Debut is Strong
There’s been a big change on the Top 50 sales chart, thanks to 50 Cent.

Retail, which had been waiting for a bona fide blockbuster since last May, when The Eminem Show sold 1.4 million units in its first full week, finally had its prayers answered by the Eminem/Dr. Dre protege. The controversial rapper’s Shady/Aftermath/Interscope album flew out of the stores faster than the money’s flying out of your stock portfolio, selling a resounding 806k in the four days between its release last Thursday (2/6) and the closing of the chart. That total compares favorably to The Eminem Show’s 311k in its first two days on sale last Memorial Day weekend, when it set the precedent for pushed-forward release dates.

HastingsMike Fuller took time out from dropping some science on his co-workers to enthuse: "After what has been one of the most lackluster Januarys in memory, it’s great to see some records that are creating some real excitement in the marketplace. The heat surrounding the 50 Cent release is astounding. Interscope did a phenomenal job of setting this record up and reacting quickly to the piracy issues… Damn—I meant to freestyle that quote."

While the carryover effect wasn’t as pronounced as on previous blockbuster weeks, 30 of the top 50 albums showed sales increases, including Open Wide/Columbia/CRG’s Dixie Chicks, who gained 7% despite being unseated from the top spot by the unchivalrous 50 Cent, and Lava/Atlantic/Atl G’s Kid Rock, who climbed on ex-girlfriend Sheryl Crow’s Harley and zoomed to #3 on a whopping 40% increase.

Blue Note’s Norah Jones (+2%) and Arista’s Avril Lavigne (+3%) rounded out the Top Five. Behind them were Epic/SMSChicago soundtrack (which should pick up steam after scoring 13 Oscar noms) at #6, Epic’s ubiquitous Jennifer Lopez at #7, WB cowpoke Blake Shelton making his debut at #8, Goldmind/Elektra/EEG’s Missy Elliott not missing a beat at #9 and Def Jam/IDJ’s LL Cool J coming out of nowhere to reenter in the 10th slot. Just missing the Top 10 was Wind-up’s debuting Daredevil soundtrack at #11.

Fuller removed his street-style headphones just long enough to offer the following assessment: "Yo. Other hot debuts came from Blake Shelton and the Daredevil soundtrack. But two of the biggest sales stories this week have to be Kid Rock, with another huge gain behind his duet with Sheryl Crow, and the new cut that was stripped onto the LL Cool J record helped it take a big jump this week as well. Word."

Before we forget, the biggest percentage pick-up was scored by J’s surging Tyrese, whose 68% upward move brought him into the Top 20 at #18.

The big story next week will be where 50 Cent winds up after his first full week in the stores.

STRINGER ON "THE ISSUES AND ACTIONS NEEDED"
Sony Music is all in. (6/1a)
"REAL AND CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE": SIR LUCIAN SPEAKS OUT
UMG is all in. (6/1a)
RAPINO: SUPPORTING BLACK CULTURE, ANTI-RACISM
Live Nation is all in. (5/30a)
WMG ON COPING WITH THE MOMENT
Warner Music is all in. (6/1a)
ARTISTS MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD (UPDATE)
The stars are coming out. (6/1a)
TUESDAY
THE SHOW MUST BE PAUSED
TIME TO REFLECT
TIME TO ACT
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