In a week when two major pop acts are challenging the relevancy of first-week sales numbers, rapper Rick Ross topped the U.S. album chart with his latest, "Trilla." The album enters at No. 1 after selling 198,000 copies.
Yet changes are ahead for the weekly sales tally.
On Monday, the Raconteurs, which features the White Stripes' Jack White, announced that its latest, "Consolers of the Lonely," will be released March 25, writing in a statement that the group does not want the album "defined by its first week's sales." "Consolers of the Lonely" had been pegged for late April release.
Then genre-hopping pop act Gnarls Barkley rushed its latest, "The Odd Couple," to digital retailers on Tuesday, three weeks early, and has been shipping the album to physical stores throughout the week. Manager Jeff Antebi of Waxploitation said the concept of promoting an album for a big first-week sales number was no longer relevant.
"It's a big deal in the context of the old guard -- where you land on the Billboard Top 200," Antebi said. "To a lot of people, that's the goal. . . . I think it's an outdated, completely impractical, strategic mind-set. It is just as outdated as releasing a single three months early."
After the industry has seen straight-to-Web releases from Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, Antebi said record companies would soon be releasing albums, then promoting them after the fact, adjusting the marketing plan based on what is or isn't working. As an example, Antebi said the top-downloaded Gnarls Barkley song on iTunes was "Going On," and not the singles "Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)" or "Who's Gonna Save My Soul."
"You should service press and service radio after you have serviced retail," Antebi said.
"Odd Couple" will show up on next week's chart, and Antebi said the success of the album would be better evaluated in a year, not a week.
As for the rest of this week's tally, the 27th volume of the "Now! That's What I Call Music" compilation series enters at No. 2 with 169,000 copies, and Snoop Dogg's "Ego Trippin' " lands at No. 3 with 137,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Rapper Fat Joe debuts at No. 6 with "Elephant in the Room" (46,000 copies), and Miley Cyrus is back in the Top 10, at No. 10, with her live album, "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best Of Both Worlds Concert" (34,000 copies).