Billboard -- With so few new albums arriving to market in the first half of January, retailers like iTunes are focusing on promoting previously released albums.
In turn, we could see a number of albums gallop up the Billboard 200 next week, including Mumford & Sons ' former No. 1 "Babel" and Phillip Phillips ' debut set "The World From the Side of the Moon."
The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 9.
Industry sources suggest that "Babel" may sell between 80,000 to 100,000 by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Jan. 6, while Phillips' effort could sell 55,000 to 75,000. Both titles were temporarily sale-priced for $6.99 in the iTunes Store: the price of the standard version of "Babel" is now back up to its normal $11.99 while Phillips' remains $6.99. "Babel" also benefits from its high-profile placement in the store itself: it's the first title seen in the "New Music" window in the main store (even though the album has been out for 14 weeks).
'Les Miserables' Soundtrack Aiming for No. 1 on Billboard 200
On next week's chart, "Babel" may have to settle for a big jump to the No. 2 slot. (It was No. 8 on the Billboard 200 this past week.) Standing in "Babel's" way (possibly) is the "Les Miserables" soundtrack. As we reported on Thursday (Jan. 3), it may sell more than 100,000 this week and jump into the penthouse.
Other albums looking to gain thanks to iTunes' promotion: P!nk 's "The Truth About Love" and Alicia Keys ' "Girl On Fire." Both titles have a chance of returning to the top 10 with more than 50,000 each.
On Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart (below), "Babel" leads the list while "Les Miserables" is in second place. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking -- reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants.
Phillips' "World" is No. 3, One Direction's "Take Me Home" is No. 4 and "Red" is No. 5. Keys' "Girl On Fire" claims the No. 6 slot while Bruno Mars' "Unorthodox Jukebox" is No. 7. The "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack is No. 8, followed by Justin Bieber's "Believe" and the Lumineers' self-titled album at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.
Nielsen SoundScan Building ChartRankLW BB 200ArtistTitle18Mumford & Sons"Babel"22Soundtrack"Les Miserables: Highlights"311Phillip Phillips"The World From the Side of the Moon"43One Direction"Take Me Home"51Taylor Swift"Red"618Alicia Keys"Girl On Fire"74Bruno Mars"Unorthodox Jukebox"810Soundtrack"Pitch Perfect"912Justin Bieber"Believe"109The Lumineers"The Lumineers"The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.