Jay-Z’s First-Week Sales: Not Quite Eminem-Level, But Not Bad By Any Stretch

Unsurprisingly, Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 debuted atop today’s Billboard 200, thanks to sales of 476,000 copies in the time that elapsed between its release last Tuesday and Sunday night. But how did Jay’s first-week numbers fare in the more rarefied arena of No. 1 debuts? I crunched a few numbers to figure out just how all of the albums that topped the charts in their first week of sales fared, and came away slightly surprised! It wasn’t surprising that Eminem’s first-week numbers for Relapse were the best posted by a debuting album all year, but I was a bit taken aback by the fact that a little rock band called U2 beat Jay out by a slim margin: 1. Eminem, Relapse (608,000, June 6) 2. U2, No Line On The Horizon (484,000, March 14) 3. Jay-Z, The Blueprint III (476,000, Sept. 26) 4. Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King (424,000, June 20) 5. Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable (351,000, April 25) 6. Maxwell, BLACKsummer’snight (316,000, July 25) 7. Whitney Houston, I Look To You (305,000, Sept. 19) 8. Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. (304,000, June 27) 9. Daughtry, Leave This Town (269,000, Aug. 1) 10. Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted (255,000, March 28) 11. Jonas Brothers, Lines, Vines, And Trying Times (247,000, July 4) 12. Bruce Springsteen, Working On A Dream (224,000, Feb. 14) 13. Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown (215,000, May 30) 14. The Fray (179,000, Feb. 21) 15. Keith Urban, Defying Gravity (171,000, April 18) 16. Rick Ross, Deeper Than Rap (158,000, May 9) 17. George Strait, Twang (155,000, Aug. 29) 18. Now 30 (146,000, April 11) 19. Bob Dylan, Together Through Life (125,000, May 16) 20. Demi Lovato, Here We Go Again (108,000, Aug. 8) 21. Colbie Caillat, Breakthrough (106,000, Sept. 12) 22. Fabolous, Loso’s Way (99,000, Aug. 15) 23. Reba McEntire, Keep On Loving You (96,000, Sept. 5) 24. Chrisette Michele, Epiphany (83,000, May 23) 25. Sugarland, Live On the Inside (75,000, Aug. 22) Maybe it’s just that the expectations for U2’s album were a lot higher than those for Blueprint 3—recall that last week, early estimates had Jay’s first-week sales somewhere around the 300k mark—but the reaction when the numbers finally came out was very different than the semi-triumphant reception this week’s numbers are getting, no? I guess the summer was really that bad for the biz…Beatles, Jay-Z Dominate Album Charts [Billboard]