Britney Spear’s critically-acclaimed first CD in four years comes in No. 2

ftbritney20.jpgBy Chantal Waldhoz  for Hollywood Today

Britney Spear’s critically-acclaimed first CD in four years comes in No. 2 as The Eagle’s first studio album in 28 years wins due to a last minute change in Billboard’s chart policy.

HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) November 8, 2007 – Hit it baby one more time she did not. With Billboard changing the rules of the game right before releasing the The Billboard 200’s number one for the week, fans are outraged that Ms. Spears did not nab the front spot. Instead, The Eagles’ “Long Road Out of Eden” (their first release in 28 years) came in No. 1 with 711,000 copies sold mainly under an exclusive Walmart deal.

ftbritney20.jpg

Many became displeased upon hearing that at the last minute Billboard decided to incorporate an album that was exclusively sold at one retailer, Wal-Mart. Prior to this rule, The Eagles would have been disqualified. Had Billboard not accepted this change, Spears would undoubtedly be this week’s number one.

Selling about 290,000 in its first week, “Blackout” has done well despite her tabloid romps due to genuine critical music raves and Spears’s long hiatus. Nonethless, it was heard that she was expected to sell about 350,000. Although the average sales for a number one this year have been around 337,000. Spears’ latest figure would have hit the top on most any week, but for the rule change. 

Controversy aside, the Eagles “Eden” was formidable, In its first week making it this year’s second-best opening week behind Kanye West’s “Graduation” which sold 960,000.

But hold on Brit fans, there’s actually some good news. She becomes the first female artist of all-time to have all of her CD’s reach the top two positions. Not too shabby for a woman who’s been at odd ends with her life recently.

With her life seeming to be in shambles, it’s good to question why Wal-Mart didn’t promote her over The Eagles. It’s simple. Being the nation’s largest music retailer known for being family friendly, it’s lucky that her latest wasn’t binned – not banned, but almost as bad if you are put in the record bins down the aisle. If they did take a jab at Britney, it wouldn’t be the first time they have done so with using the same tactic against certain rap and hardcore rock acts in the past.

It’s not the fact that Billboard changed the rules that have people questioning their motives, but rather that it might not have been the best time to do so. With releasing their weekly numbers a couple of days prior to the magazine hitting stands, the new rule was enacted right before the final numbers were calculated.

You could also buy through the Eagles site and Sam’s Club, but single chain releases like those done in the past by Garth Brooks and the Rolling Stones have never been reflected in the overall album chart. Other record stores and labels have held that Billboard chart position should reflect an album’s popularity industry wide, not just that of a in a concerted single-chain marketing campaign.

But it was also last minute that Wal-Mart was willing to share their figures with Nielsen SoundScan who is responsible for reporting numbers to Billboard. “We know that some retailers will be uncomfortable with this policy, but it was inevitable that Billboard’s charts would ultimately widen the parameters to reflect changes that are unfolding in music distribution,” said Geoff Mayfield, Billboard’s director of charts. “We would have preferred to make this decision earlier, but only became aware within the last twenty-four hours that Wal-Mart would be willing to share the data for this title with Nielsen SoundScan.”

This still doesn’t change the way fans are reacting. According to a new poll on Billboard.com, out of 1420 votes so far, 86 percent claimed that Britney should have held the top spot while only ten percent deemed it necessary.

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