Will Gnarls Barkley’s Rush Release Help Them Run Off With The Album Chart’s Top Spot?

Mar 21st, 2008 // 6 Comments

Hits has its weekly prediction of next week’s top 10 albums, sales-wise, but there’s one notable release from this week that’s missing from its projected tallies: Gnarls Barkley’s The Odd Couple, which was rush-released this week in response to its being leaked two weeks ago. It lumbered to the upper reaches of digital-music outlets’ charts almost immediately upon release, but will those numbers be enough for it to crack the top 10, even in these days of weak record sales?

Hits‘ picks for next week’s top five, with projected sales in parentheses:

1. Danity Kane (“at least” 270,000)
2. Now 27 (160,000-165,000)
3. Rick Ross (85,000-90,000)
4. Flo Rida (70,000-80,000)
5. Jack Johnson (60,000-65,000)

The rest of the top ten is rounded out by albums selling in the 40,000-60,000 range, including–Lord help us–the soundtrack to Alvin & The Chipmunks. Projected totals for The Odd Couple are nowhere to be found, which seems odd given that it’s been selling strongly on the digital-sales charts yet at the same time makes sense because of the way physical albums are filtering into the few remaining brick-and-mortar retailers out there.

Right now, The Odd Couple is topping the album charts at Amazon’s MP3 store and the iTunes Store, although it’s all the way down at No. 22 on Amazon’s big board. And the rush-release of the album means that it’s dropping at physical retailers–including the still-important Wal-Mart–throughout the week.

But how much does being top dog on the digital-sales charts matter in the big picture? To compare: Rick Ross’ Trilla, which was this week’s No. 1 on the big chart, also topped the digital-sales charts with 12,000 e-copies sold. While I’d hazard a guess that the members of Gnarls’ target audience who are willing to pay for the album would be more likely to get it online than go to a big-box (or even mom-and-pop) retailer to get it, the early-March leak of The Odd Couple likely depressed the potential for even mid-five-figure digital sales. My prediction: The Odd Couple will bow somewhere between No. 11 and No. 15 this week, and the music cognoscenti will weep at its seemingly lower popularity than Alvin‘s tie-in.

Rumor Mill [Hits Daily Double]

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  1. Al Shipley

    Did anyone in their right mind really think their new album would be a big seller? I think even if they’d waited for the original release date as planned it’d have a modest chart debut. They had one hit and a lot of critical support two years ago, but that zeitgeist moment is over and I don’t see any other hits.

  2. Rob Murphy

    @Al Shipley: Al, your comment just gave me a chill-inducing vision of a 20-years-hence YouTube-ular-esque viral ad for “One Hit Wonders Of The ’00′s!!!” — available as an on-demand stream, natch — featuring Paris Hilton Madden LaBeouf Rida Madden LaBeouf asking, “Do YOU remember when, do you remember when you lost YOUR mind???”

    Curse you, Al Shipley, CURSE YOU!!!

  3. Chris Molanphy

    I think it could squeak onto the lower rungs of the Top 10, though probably not the Top Five.

    Certain Starbucks-friendly acts (and I hate to insult Gnarls with such a sobriquet) don’t just top the iTunes album chart, they sell disproportionately there — I’m talking Coldplay, Jack Johnson, etc. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility that, even with a shortened sales week, Gnarls could move 25K-40K full-album downloads there.

  4. Charles A. Hohman

    @Al Shipley: Actually, most of the non-rock-crits I know who bought “St. Elsewhere,” as opposed to downloading “Crazy,” absolutely adored it. Unfortunately, most of them have since lost their jobs/taken substantial pay cuts. But there is a general eagerness to hear the new album, which may lend it numbers akin to, say, modestly successful crit faves like “Icky Thump” or “Neon Bible.” I honestly see it landing Top Ten, though not Top Five.

  5. Maura Johnston

    @Rob Murphy: “Paris Hilton Madden LaBeouf Rida Madden LaBeouf “

    =o

  6. Final is Werewolf Nat Turner.

    Buying it but Dammit CeeLo what’s it gonna take to get another Goodie M.O.B. Album?

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