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With sales down 10% vs. the same week last year, the total positive margin over 2010 is now just a slim 1%.

YOUNG JEEZY IS
2011'S LAST HURRAH

Year Over Year Narrows to 1%, with Black Ink Hanging in the Balance
Will year-to-year sales finish in the black for a record industry that hasn't seen a positive trend in almost seven years?

That's the big question facing the beleaguered music biz, with sales down 10% vs. the same week last year, the total positive margin over 2010 is now just a slim 1%.

2004 was the last year that sales were up over the previous one, and that was helped along by counting 53 weeks instead of 52, but it would still have been positive even without the extra week. Of course, without the help of Adele's 5.6 million, 2011 would be behind last year now, too.

With just two more weeks left in the 2011 chart year, it looks like we'll really need those gift card redemptions this weekend and next week to stay in positive territory for the year.

Since Christmas Day falls on a Sunday this year, which is the last reporting day for all Digital Service Providers, with what is sure to be an onslaught of gift cards, normal sales trends may not apply to this week's new releases.

Nevertheless, Def Jam/IDJ's Young Jeezy album, Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition, hits fourth, looks set for an impressive first week sales number of between 200-225k, based on one-day reports from those retailers who took time out from making fun of Newt Gingrich's double chin to respond. The South Carolina-born rapper's previous album, The Recession, debuted with nearly 260k upon its release in Sept. 2008.

Windy City hip-hop icon Common's Think Common/Warner Bros. bow, The Dreamer/The Believer, looks headed for first-week sales of between 55-65k. His last album, 2008's Universal Mind Control, on G.O.O.D./Geffen, debuted with 82k.

Album sales were up 15% vs. last week, down 10% vs. same week last year and up 1% year to date.

Track sales were up 4% vs. last week, up 6% vs. same week last year and up 9% year to date.

TEA (Track Equivalent Album) sales were up 13% vs. last week, down 8% vs. same week last year and up 3% year to date.

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