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"[Pushing up Metallica’s release date] will create some problems. There are a lot of midnight sales and plenty of advertising that can’t be changed. I know that it worked for 50 Cent, but this is a different scenario."
——Music Millennium’s Terry Currier

SUMMER RETAIL SUPERSIZES

Pushed-Up Metallica CD Tops List of Releases Slated for June 10

A funny thing happened on the way to retail’s first "Super Tuesday" of 2003—June 10.

Responding to the threat of widespread piracy, Elektra pushed up the release of the day’s centerpiece, metal maestros Metallica’s St. Anger, to this Thursday (6/5).

Following in the footsteps of Interscope with Eminem’s The Eminem Show and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, label officials have decided to make sure copies of the band’s first studio album in six years "do not proliferate in the marketplace."

That should give the hard rockers the edge on topping next week’s HITS Top 50 albums chart, which both Eminem (with 311k on three days of sales) and 50 Cent (806k on five days) accomplished in partial weeks. For their first full weeks at retail, Slim Shady scored 1.4 million (for a 10-day total of 1.7 million), while Fitty grabbed an additional 801k (totaling 1.6 million in 12 days). Estimates for first-week album sales on Metallica have ranged from 500k to a million. The band’s last studio album, ’96’s ReLoad, sold 435k its first week on the way to an OTC total of 3.7 million.

Music Millennium’s Terry Currier sees the label’s move as a bit of an overreaction: "This will create some problems. There are a lot of midnight sales and plenty of advertising that can’t be changed. I know that it worked for 50 Cent, but this is a different scenario."

Elektra’s move makes it a different scenario for the remaining June 10 releases as well, with Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief becoming the de facto big release. The Capitol art-rockers’ last studio album, 2001’s Amnesiac, debuted at #2 on 230k, while 2000’s Grammy-winning Kid A bowed at #1 on 200k, going on to move a million in the States.

Expected to fall in line behind the two superstar bands are a pair of J Records veterans, Luther Vandross and Annie Lennox, each of whom could flirt with the 100k mark.

Vandross’ new album, Dance With My Father, his second for Clive Davis’ J, features guest stars Beyonce Knowles, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, Foxy Brown and Stevie Wonder. Not to be crass (which hasn’t stopped us in the past), but the soul legend remains comatose and in critical condition after suffering a stroke last month, which means interest in the record will inevitably increase. Vandross’ self-titled 2001 effort sold 140k its first week on the way to 1.2 million in the U.S.

Ex-Eurythmic Lennox returns with Bare, her first since ’95’s Medusa, which sold 70k in its first week and has sold 1.8 million in the U.S.

The Super Tuesday X factor is Reprise’s Steely Dan, whose 2000 reunion album, the Grammy-winning Two Against Nature, bowed with 140k, ultimately going past the million mark domestically. Their new Everything Must Go will be released in standard CD and DVD Audio versions.

The final wild card is the RCA debut of last year’s American Idol runner-up, curly-haired Justin Guarini, who should shake out some sales, though the show is on hiatus and unable to help boost those numbers.

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