When first week sales figures are released for Britney Spears’ sophomore album ”Oops!… I Did It Again” on Thursday, May 25, retailers say they’ll fall short of the record-breaking 2.41 million copies her Jive label mates ‘N Sync recently sold of their ”No Strings Attached.” According to our sources, retailers ordered about one million fewer copies of ”Oops!” than they did of ”No Strings.” ”The buys weren’t as strong,” explains Wherehouse music buyer Violet Brown, ”so there’s not enough product in the marketplace for her to beat ‘N Sync’s numbers.” David Lang, President of the New Jersey chain Compact Disc World concurs, ”There’s no way that she’s gonna sell the same as ‘N Sync did the first week.”
This doesn’t mean the record will be a disapppointment, however. Call it gender bias, but female artists have rarely managed first week sales that are strong as those by males. The current record holder for a woman is Alanis Morissette, who moved 469,000 units of her sophomore effort ”Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.” And retailers say that Spears will have no trouble beating Alanis’ record. ”She’ll probably even double it,” says Robert Cummins, the pop/rock buyer for Best Buy’s 358 stores.
More good news for Britney: She’ll debut at No. 1 and knock ‘N Sync from the top spot they’ve held for the last seven weeks. But sources say that she’ll likely be KO-ed from her perch the very next week by that other feisty blond: Eminem, whose new album, ”The Marshall Mathers LP,” arrives May 23. ”He has the rap crowd and the suburban teens,” explains Lang. ”That’s a very powerful combination for huge sales.”
In fact, Eminem’s last album (”The Slim Shady LP”) has seen a recent sales spike (”We’re just selling out the bins like crazy,” says Cummins), which is always a strong indicator that sales of the follow-up release will be big. ”Shady” jumped from No. 35 to No. 28 on this week’s album charts, while Spears’ debut ”…Baby One More Time” fell six spots, to No. 61. ”Oops” indeed.