Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” racked up 284,000 units in U.S. sales over the weekend, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making the Aftermath/Interscope album a lock to debut at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard 200. In fact, Eminem beats the No. 2 album, P. Diddy’s “We Invented the Remix” (Bad Boy/Arista), by more than 100,000 units. Now, the only question remaining is whether Eminem’s album will top the million-unit mark in its second week, when it has a full week of sales behind it. The rapper’s last album, “The Marshall Mathers LP,” racked up 1.7 million units in its debut week.
“We’ve never had a record debut at No. 1 with only a day and a half of sales,” says Nielsen SoundScan CEO Mike Shalett. “Any record that’s ever debuted at the top of the chart in the past has had the benefit of six days of sales. This is quite an achievement.”
Although “The Eminem Show” had only one day of official sales for the chart week that ended Sunday, street-date violations had an impact on the album’s sales total. After the street date was moved up – first from the original June 4 release to May 28, and then to Sunday – retailers took matters into their own hands, with many putting the album out as early as Friday. By Saturday, it appeared that the only retailers who didn’t have the album on shelves were those that hadn’t yet received their shipments.
Although the marketing plans of Interscope and retail chains were thrown into disarray when the official streetdate became a moving target, stores might now be benefiting from the label’s traffic drivers, as merchants yesterday (May 28) were reporting continued strong sales.