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Confessions (LaFace/ZLG) looks like it will have an uncontested fourth week on top of the HITS Album Chart. As the numbers continue to be crunched, early indications are that the album should come in at around 280k for the week.

WEEK IN PREVIEW:
USHER'S STILL TOPS

Confessions Makes it Four in a Row in a
Down Week
Four weeks at #1 is definitely something to get pumped about, and in this case, Usher  may be celebrating with a few thousand extra crunches and curls.

Yes, his Confessions (LaFace/ZLG) looks like it will have an uncontested fourth week on top of the HITS Album Chart. As the numbers continue to be crunched, early indications are that the album should come in at around 280k for the week.

That’s a pretty sharp dip from last week’s 452k, but still well ahead of the projected #2, which is the Now 15 compilation (Capitol), which at this point looks like it has sold about 120k for the week.

Meanwhile, after registering a 44% increase for Easter week, Island’s Hoobastank appears likely to hang on to most of that gain, with the numbers so far pointing to another 73k sold for the just-completed sales cycle.

Likely following close behind in the 60k-70k range will be Guns N’ Roses (Geffen), Jessica Simpson (Columbia), Janet Jackson (Virgin), Norah Jones (Blue Note) and Evanescence (Wind-up).

As for overall market conditions, early reports indicate that sales were down approximately 20% compared to the previous week, which included Easter. Likewise, sales were down about 20% when compared to the same week last year, which also happened to be Easter week last year.

Overall, the record sales appear to be up about 5% for the first three weeks of the second quarter, and up about 8% for the year so far.
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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