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LUKE VS. DRE: CHART BATTLE UPDATE

Nashville Giant, Compton Legend in Fight for #1

Next week's chart will be a battle for #1 between two giants.

Luke Bryan’s new Capitol Nashville set, Kill the Lights, has been the presumed chart-topper since its 8/7 release date was added to the schedule. But Dr. Dre’s star-studded, breathlessly acclaimed Compton, A Soundtrack (Aftermath/Interscope) will come out the same day and tonight will become available for streaming as an Apple exclusive just as the marketing onslaught for the Straight Outta Compton film kicks into overdrive.

Early reads put Luke at about 340-365k for the album and 360-385k with consumption, and Dre at 250-275k for the album and 290-315k with consumption, using 30-50 million streams. But the streaming debut, mad praise and word of mouth (along with accelerating film hype) may well give Dre an additional spike.

Compton (an Apple exclusive, at least initially) is currently #1 in preorder on the iTunes album chart, while Kill the Lights is #2.

That said, Bryan has a hot single (“Kick the Dust Up,” now #1 at Country radio and #14 at iTunes) and new track "Strip It Down" is impacting radio now. The star will hit GMA's Summer Concert Series and an iHeart release party in NYC on release date and Fallon on 8/10. Add to that his usual massive visibility and d2c initiatives. A Target exclusive with three exclusive tracks is getting a huge social campaign (#lukebox is currently the #3 trending topic on Twitter) and a blg look in the retail giant's circular.

Compton reunites Dre with N.W.A bandmate Ice Cube as well as Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and other hip-hop heavyweights. Expect huge continued exposure for Dre and the project on Beats 1 as well as the movie's promotional onslaught (not to mention huge word of mouth) to raise major awareness.

The entire Compton set will be available for streaming, uncensored, tonight between 6pm and 9pm PT, with the iTunes Store and Apple Music turning over at 9 to make the set available to stream and buy and a Beats 1 show dedicated to the album, hosted by Zane Lowe, kicking off at that time. How might the promotion of this Apple exclusive in an ecosystem that has streaming at its center affect its first-week sales? This could be a fascinating test case.

Meanwhile, how long will Compton be an Apple exclusive? Will Bryan find a lane at Spotify to counter Dre's streaming boost? 

In any case, we’ve got two major titles from opposite ends of the musical spectrum going toe to toe. Between this and the Republican debates, we’d better stock up on popcorn.

 

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