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With initial guesstimates in the 350k range, Spears appears to be blowing away the pundits' first-week predictions.

BRITNEY BREAKS OUT BIG

Circus Comes to Town and Is Ready to Climb Above 450k
Britney might not want to call her latest release a comeback, but whatever you dub it, her new Jive/ZLG album Circus is soaring past all expectations.

Thanks to a barrage of good publicity for a change, the pop star, who just celebrated her 27th birthday yesterday with a performance on ABC’s Good Morning America, will debut at #1 on next week’s HITS Album Sales chart with a total that seems to be in excess of 450k, and very capable of climbing even higher.

According to retailers who haven't been clubbed into submission by the economy, first-day sales were brisk for the album, coming on the heels of MTV’s highly rated documentary, Britney: For the Record, a Rolling Stone cover story and surprisingly rave reviews. Hey, the media owes her.

With initial guesstimates in the 350k range, Spears appears to be blowing away the pundits' first-week predictions. Based on first day sales reports, the album seems poised to top the recent first week total of the current #1, Kanye West, and, possibly, even Beyonce

Meanwhile SRC/Universal Motown’s Akon, fresh off a hit single, will be the next highest debut of the week in the 80-90k range, while Asylum rapper (and one-time Geto Boy) Scarface looks to scare up some 30-40k in sales.

The market was up 29% vs. last week, thanks to Black Friday, basically flat vs. the same week last year and still down 14% year to date.

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AN ASTRONOMICAL
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SONG REVENUE:
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A cash clash of the titans (5/13a)
SPOTIFY WAVES THE ITALIANO FLAG
He does a touching karaoke rendition of "Volare." (5/13a)
SPIRIT OF LIFE CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF (UPDATE)
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SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
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