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NICKI MAKES A
MIDWEEK MOVE

This week's tight chart battle for #1 between Nicki Minaj's Queen and Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD is another skirmish in the longstanding competitive rivalry between Republic boss Monte Lipman and Epic prexy Sylvia Rhone.

Earlier in the week the odds seemed very much in Scott's favor, as new merch bundles were added to his highly successful store. Both sides have gone into overdrive to generate maximum numbers since then. Wednesday saw Republic strip on "FEFE," the 6ix9ine single on which she's featured (originally released on Elliot Grainge's TenThousand), to Nicki's album. The move may be a Hail Mary, but some in the UMG camp believe it has moved the center of gravity in the race. The freshly added 20th cut to the YMCMB/Republic set is currently #3 on Spotify's U.S. chart, and #2 at Apple Music

Sony will argue that Apple shouldn't count today, since "FEFE" wasn't ingested into the Apple system until after 5:30pm ET. Look for other maneuvers from both camps, including a Nicki Tidal play.

Could this nudge the chart fight in Nicki's direction as she vies for the crown against returning champ Scott? Uni handicappers think so. But don't count Rhone out; last week Scott amassed about 250k in D2C, the biggest single-week direct-sales number in recent memory.

 

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