Eminem #1, yada yada yada blah blah blah.

However, the remainder of the Top 10 on this week’s Billboard album chart gets an almost complete makeover,  by virtue of six debuts and a reentry. The only albums in this week’s Top 10 that were also in last week’s Top 10 besides Eminem are Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” (#7) and Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0” (#8). This week’s Top 10 debuts come from R&B singer Kem (#2), singer-songwriters Ray LaMontagne (#3) and David Gray (#9), rock legends Iron Maiden (#4) and John Mellencamp (#10) and country star/reality TV contestant Trace Adkins at #5. Also, Lady Antebellum jumps back into the Top 10 at #6 with “Need You Now” while also debuting at #17 with their live “iTunes Session”.

Did you know last week was the lowest-selling week for music in Soundscan’s 19-year history? The music industry hasn’t exactly been helping their cause by releasing barely anything noteworthy for the entire month. If not for Eminem, The Arcade Fire and Avenged Sevenfold, who knows how bad the month’s sales would have been. The obvious lesson one would deduce from this is that superstar releases should be spaced out a lot better, because I guarantee you that as we head into late September and early October, there will be a glut of albums that will debut at #3 or #4 that would’ve debuted at #1 if released in a slower period-and with similar or better numbers, too.

It’s harder than ever to sell records these days, and most bands would be wise to take a slow-and-steady wins the race viewpoint, as it seems that a lot of albums that crowd the upper-mid regions of the chart are titles that debuted relatively modestly but are picking up consistent sales week after week and seem to be headed for at least Gold status by the time the new year comes around. Examples of this phenomenon include the latest albums by The Black Keys (#28, 253K sold to date), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (#32, 276K sold to date) and at #54, French rock group Phoenix, whose “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” is closing in on half a million sold despite the fact that it has never sold more than 25,000 copies in a single week. Now THAT’s dedication.

Next week, it looks like Katy Perry will easily enter the charts at the top with “Teenage Dream”, although it also looks like sales will be lower than expected, with a total around 200K. Eminem will be vying for second place with Fantasia, whose third effort appears headed for a start around 120K. What’s that saying? There’s no such thing as bad publicity so long as they spell your name right. However, the fuss over Fantasia’s alleged OD might not be the only story. As evidenced by Kem’s surprising (to some folks) debut at #2, folks who are in their thirties and forties that listen to R&B still buy records. Consider not only the debut by Kem and the forecasted sales for Fantasia, but also Monica’s latest (488K sold), Alicia Keys (1.4 million), even the success of Trey Songz, who sort of straddles the line between kid and adult-friendly at 796K sold. We can’t forget about Sade, who sailed over the million sold mark with ease. All of these artists appeal to a more mature listener and with the exception of Trey Songz’ “Say Aah”, none of the albums named here have had a song hit the Top 10 on the pop charts. Build an audience and stay faithful to it. They may not support you as fervently as the fly-by-night fans support their favorites of the moment, but at the end of the race, you’ll still be standing while the temporarily brighter-burning pop fad will have long burned out.

Here’s this week’s Top 20:

1) Eminem “Recovery”
2) Kem “Intimacy”
3) Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise”
4) Iron Maiden “The Final Frontier”
5) Trace Adkins “Cowboy’s Back in Town”
6) Lady Antebellum “Need You Now”
7) Arcade Fire “The Suburbs”
8) Justin Bieber “My World 2.0”
9) David Gray “Foundling”
10) John Mellencamp “No Better Than This”
11) Rick Ross “Teflon Don”
12) Drake “Thank Me Later”
13) Soundtrack “Camp Rock 2”
14) Avenged Sevenfold “Nightmare”
15) Kidz Bop Kids “Kidz Bop 18”
16) Lady GaGa “The Fame”
17) Lady Antebellum “iTunes Session”
18) Blake Shelton “All About Tonight”
19) Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More”
20) Zac Brown Band “Foundation”

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