Beyonce’s Surprise Album Set to Debut at No. 1

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  • Beyonce’s surprise self-titled album is by all accounts on track to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week.

    Official Nielsen SoundScan sales figures may have the album at 600,000 by the tracking week deadline of Sunday, Dec. 15, which will be revealed mid-week.

    According to Billboard, that’s a remarkable figure for an album with less than four days of availability. All of her previous albums were released on a Tuesday, the traditional day when albums are released each week. Thus, a Tuesday release would receive six days of sales in their debut week. But, since “Beyonce” dropped at midnight on a Friday, its sales are more staggering, since they are just from a little more than three days.

    The album bowed — without any pre-release announcement — in the iTunes Store at midnight EST on Friday morning, Dec. 13. None of its songs are available a la carte (which is likely helping encourage full album purchases). The 14-song set is selling for $15.99 and additionally comes with 18 music videos. 14 of those are for each of the album’s songs.

    “Beyonce,” which is exclusively available through the iTunes Store until Dec. 20, sold 430,000 through Friday night, and then another 120,000 or so on Saturday.

    “Beyonce” will also give the entertainer her fifth consecutive No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 — her entirety of solo album releases.

    And, “Beyonce” could notch the diva’s largest debut ever. Her current largest week was set in 2006, when her second album, “B’Day,” bowed at No. 1 with 541,000 according to SoundScan.

    Beyonce’s last album, 2011′s “4,” opened with 310,000. Her third set, 2008′s “I Am . . . Sasha Fierce,” started with 482,000, while her “Dangerously In Love” debut in 2003 launched with 317,000.

    “Beyonce” is already set to become the biggest debuting album by a female artist since Taylor Swift sold an astounding 1.2 million copies of “Red” in the week corresponding to Billboard 200 chart dated Nov 10, 2012.

    Through Saturday (Dec. 14), the first two singles from the album have begun receiving airplay. The urban-leaning “Drunk in Love,” featuring Jay Z, drew 311 first-day plays across 70 stations monitored by Nielsen BDS. Rhythmic WBQT Boston led with 17 plays, followed by rhythmic WQHT and mainstream R&B/hip-hop WWPR New York (13 each).

    Meanwhile, more pop-oriented single “Blow” tallied 87 first-day plays, championed most by rhythmic KPTT Denver (13 plays). Early major-market airplay has come from rhythmic KPWR Los Angeles and mainstream top 40 WKSC Chicago.

    “Beyonce is bigger than a single. Beyonce has created a movement,” CBS Radio VP of urban programming Reggie Rouse told Billboard. “She just kills it. She is the standard. Beyonce made every radio station, blog, TV station react to what she did.”

    Billboard previously reported that “XO,” a ballad penned by Ryan Tedder and The-Dream, will follow later in 2014 as the second single at top 40.

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