HDD's First Week Predictions for 2013 Q4 Albums

From JT to Gaga, This Q4 Is Brimming With Star Power

September 27, 2013

As the music business enters Q4, a clash of the titans is shaping up among three hot label groups, each of them holding a pair of potential trump cards.

The competition began in earnest on Tuesday with the release of Drake’s latest, which some retail watchers expect to the biggest album of the fall; midweek retail reports suggest that it will sell around 700k in its first week for Monte Lipman’s new-release-marketshare leader Republic, on Slim and Baby’s Young Money/Cash Money.
Republic follows that blockbuster next Tuesday (9/30), with exploding newcomer Lorde, through Jason Flom’s Lava, whose first-week estimates are rising daily; many now believe the total could land just south of 200k.

Peter Edge’s RCA, the #2 label, counters on 9/30 with the second Justin Timberlake LP of 2013, with a 500k+ bow anticipated, followed a week later by the label debut of Miley Cyrus (with first-week estimates now in the mid-200s). In her radical transformation, the former teen star has become a pop-culture phenomenon and a force of nature as well as a singles machine—last week alone, her two tracks collectively moved nearly 580k. But few others in the business had the belief in Cyrus’ potential that Edge and Tom Corson did at the time they signed her. Now, of course, what initially appeared to be a risky deal looks like a stroke of genius on the part of the ruling duo.

The third superpower, Jimmy Iovine’s IGA, the TEA leader year-to-date, will make a late charge with Eminem on 11/5 (early projection: 700k) and Lady Gaga on 11/11 (400-500k). The most anticipated indie release will be from Merge’s Arcade Fire (10/29), which some believe could go as high as 200k.

summary: JT 500k Miley 250k Em 700k Gaga 400k AF 200k Lorde 200k