Usher set for No. 1 album despite sales plunge
By Keith Caulfield
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - R&B star Usher's new album will easily claim the No. 1 spot on the U.S. pop chart next Wednesday, but its sales will be about one-third those of his previous chart-topper, according to preliminary data.
"Here I Stand" sold about 146,000 copies during its first day of release Tuesday, according to a selection of leading retailers who report their data to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard estimates the nine merchants, which include Best Buy, Borders and iTunes, account for about 80% of all U.S. album sales.
The first-day figure for Usher is near the 154,000 that Mariah Carey's "E=MC2" began with in April. She finished the week with 463,000, though that number was amplified by an aggressive promotional campaign that included stops on "Oprah Winfrey" and "American Idol."
Usher's debut might be more in line with that of Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static" earlier this year. It sold 121,000 copies on its first day and finished the week with 375,000.
Usher's last album, 2004's "Confessions," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.1 million copies and spent nine weeks at the top. With U.S. sales to date of 9.5 million, "Confessions" is the biggest release by a male solo singer since Garth Brooks' 1991 album "Ropin' the Wind," which has shifted 9.6 million.
The current chart-topper is Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down's self-titled fourth album, which sold about 154,000 copies during its first week.
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