Michael Jackson's sales still 'Thrill,' but 'Now 31' rules The Billboard 200
Six debuts dominate the chart including new Rob Thomas, Brad Paisley, Wilco
The multi-artist compilation "Now 31" bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week with sales of more than 169,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It is one of six new titles in the top 10
The "Now That's What I Call Music" set, which takes current top hits from the hottest acts, such as Black Eyed Peas and Britney Spears, continues to do well despite the fact that virtually all the songs are available for digital download.
Country superstar Brad Paisley comes in No. 2 with "American Saturday Night, " his first album since the largely-instrumental "Play." He sells close to 130,000 copies, beating Rob Thomas by more than 8,000 copies. The matchbox twenty lead singer's "Cradlesong" debuts at No. 3 as he continues a press blitz.
Despite leaking several weeks ago, "Wilco (the album)" by Wilco starts its chart life at No. 4, just barely missing the 100,000 mark. It's a very well rounded chart with virtually all genres of mainstream music represented by debuts: R&B artist Jeremih, who has a huge hit with his single "Birthday Sex," comes in at No. 6 with his self-titled debut, while hard rock band "Killswitch Engage" sells more than 58,000 with its fifth album to land at No. 7
Of course, the big story remains Michael Jackson and his posthumous record sales. Billboard does not put catalog albums on Billboard 200, therefore Jackson's titles are not eligible. However, if they were, Jackson's "Number Ones" would handily come in at No. 1-as it does on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart and Billboard Top Comprehensive Albums chart. "Number Ones" sold 339,999 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan and "Thriller" would be No. 2 at 187,000 .
On next week's chart, look for Maxwell's "Blacksummer's Night" to handily come in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.