Capitol Diva Has the Early Lead, but Both Artists Have a Shot at Unseating the Hits Collection
If you were wondering if any individual act would ever sell in six figures again, join the club. So it’s reassuring to see an artist finally appear with the clout to knock Now 22 off its perch (although it’s too early to tell for sure).

That would be LeToya, from rapidly heating up Capitol, whose first solo album is rolling toward 175k-185k. This projection gives the former Destiny’s Child member a slight edge for next week’s top chart position over Star Trak/Interscope’s Pharrell, but he’s trending just a whisker behind her at 165k-175k. Adding additional complexity to the situation is the fact that Pharrell has a much bigger presence on iTunes, with both the clean and explicit versions of his album in the store’s Top 10. Combine all that with the durable Now wow factor, and this one’s just too close to call.

Hall of Famer Tom Petty is looking relatively strong at 75k-85k with his third solo album, his first release on Rick Rubin’s American label, through Warner Bros. It was produced not by Rubin (who appears to be a shoo-in for the Producer of the Year Grammy for his projects with the Dixie Chicks, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Johnny Cash) but by former Traveling Wilbury Jeff Lynne, who helmed the TP classic Full Moon Fever (1989) and the subsequent Heartbreakers LP Into the Great Wide Open.

The only other debut worth noting is Interscope’s Jurassic 5, hip-hopping artfully toward 30k, give or take.

As for the big picture, the record biz experienced another down week for the seven days ending last Sunday, putting business year-to-date around 5% behind last year’s less than sizzling pace.