'N Sync's "Celebrity" album got off to a flying start its first day in stores on Tuesday, assuring the pop quintet the biggest sales week so far this year--but the total will probably fall shy of the group's all-time single-week sales record.
But even if "Celebrity" doesn't top the 2.4 million first-week sales of the teen idols' previous album, "No Strings Attached," all indications are that it will give them the second-best seven-day total ever.
"Anyone who doubted this band will be proven wrong with the first-week sales on 'Celebrity,"' says Wherehouse Entertainment senior pop buyer Bob Bell. "Based on first-day results, I'd say it's trending to do in the neighborhood of 2 million copies."
That would top the current first-week derby runner-up, Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP," which sold 1.76 million copies when it came out in May 2000.
"We've sold more [of 'Celebrity'] than we did of 'No Strings Attached' for the same period of time last year," says Sam Milicia, vice president of music purchasing for the Handleman Co., which services Wal-Mart, Kmart and other mass retailers.
"I know that's different from what the rest of the industry is experiencing, but ... if everybody trended the way we were doing," Milicia said, a first-week figure of 2 million on "Celebrity" would be "a piece of cake."
He added that interest in "Celebrity" was spilling over to other hot-selling albums, some of which "are experiencing double-digit increases over last week's figures."
That could give a bump next week to Alicia Keys' "Songs in a Minor," which remains the nation's No. 1 album this week on sales of nearly 222,000.
Opening at No. 2 this week behind Keys is "Aaliyah," the latest from the R&B; singer of the same name, whose disc sold 187,000 copies its first week.
New York rapper Foxy Brown's "Broken Silence" entered at No. 5 with sales of 131,000 copies, while rapper Kurupt's "Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey" was the next highest debut, entering at No. 10 on sales of 84,000 copies.
Mariah Carey's "Loverboy" rocketed from No. 45 to No. 1 on the singles sales chart.