This Week in Music: Beyonce Notches 4th Billboard 200 No. 1 with '4'

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She follows Britney Spears and DMX as the third act to debut four studio albums atop the list.

As expected, Beyonce’s fourth solo studio album, 4, bounds in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, selling 310,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.

It's the diva's fourth solo No. 1 -- and fourth studio set to top the list. She's only the third act -- and second woman -- to see their first four studio albums debut atop the Billboard 200. Britney Spears did it with her first four between 1999 and 2003 while DMX’s first five all started at No. 1 between 1998 and 2003. 

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4's sales launch is lowest of her four releases: 2008's I Am ... Sasha Fierce entered with 482,000; 2006's B'Day bowed with 541,000 and 2003's Dangerously In Love started with 317,000.
 
Of course, 4 is thus far lacking a smash hit single, which could help explain the album's softer entry. Its lead track, "Run the World (Girls)," peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- the first time the first single from a Beyonce studio set has missed the top 10.

Still, 4's bow is pretty big for 2011. It marks the third-largest sales week of the year, after the No. 1 bows of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way (1.1 million) and Adele’s 21 (351,000).

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Also arriving in the top 10 this week is rapper Big Sean's debut album Finally Famous (No. 3 with 87,000), Selena Gomez & The Scene's third set When the Sun Goes Down (No. 4 with 78,000), David Cook's sophomore effort This Loud Morning (No. 7 with 46,000) and Scotty McCreery's Wal-Mart exclusive five-song (and $5) EP American Idol Season 10 Highlights (No. 10 with 40,000).

For Gomez, When marks her best sales week yet. She's seen a bigger debut sales week with each successive release: her first album Kiss and Tell started at No. 9 with 66,000 in 2009, while the following year A Year Without Rain bowed at No. 4 with a little more than 66,000.
 
The story's different for Cook, as his new album is off to a slow start compared to his 2008 self-titled debut. That album -- which entered at No. 3 with 280,000 -- came six months after Cook won American Idol, so a big bow wasn't terribly surprising. However, his new album has yet to find a hit single and he doesn't have the glow of Idol to aid him. The new album's lead track, "The Last Goodbye," has so far only dented one of our airplay charts -- Adult Pop Songs (No. 29 this week). 

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This new McCreery EP tracks separately from his similarly-named iTunes-exclusive offering that arrived a month ago. The 14-song set was titled American Idol Season 10 and debuted and peaked at No. 12 with 23,000 in its first week.
 
Last week's No. 1 album, Jill Scott's The Light of the Sun, drops to No. 5 with 55,000 (down 60%) while Adele's 21 moves 3-2 with 92,000 (down 10%). Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party rallies 10-6 (48,000; up 20%), Jackie Evancho's Dream With Me slips 4-8 (44,000; down 43%) and Bad Meets Evil's Hell: the Sequel falls 6-9 (42,000; down 33%).
 
Over on the Digital Songs chart, LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" (featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock) ascends to No. 1 for the first time (rising two spots with 258,000; up 22%), bumping Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" down to No. 2 (206,000; down 9%).
 
The top debuts on Digital Songs this week belong to The Voice winner and runner-up Javier Colon and Dia Frampton, respectively, whose singles "Stitch by Stitch" and "Inventing Shadows" arrive at Nos. 6 and 7 (145,000 and 137,000).

Colon also debuts at No. 24 with his "Man in the Mirror" duet with his Voice coach Adam Levine (75,000). Frampton concurrently makes her mark with a second debut, at No. 33: her "I Won't Back Down" collaboration with her coach, Blake Shelton (62,000). Frampton also falls 61-67 with "Heartless" (32,000; up less than 1%), and "Losing My Religion" (28-69 with just under 32,000; down 52%).
 
Fourth place contestant Beverly McClellan's duet with her coach Christina Aguilera on the latter's own hit "Beautiful" debuts at No. 52 (42,000). One rung lower, third place finisher Vicci Martinez's "Afraid to Sleep" arrives (39,000). Her duet with coach Cee Lo Green on "Love is a Battlefield" misses the 75-position chart, but sold 25,000 downloads.

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Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" (featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer), rises 4-3 (192,000; up 2%), Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" rises 6-4 (169,000; up less than 1%), Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is steady at No. 5 (152,000; down 11%) and Lil Wayne's "How to Love" climbs 10-8 (128,000; down 1%). Rounding out the top 10 are Hot Chelle Rae's "Tonight Tonight," which holds at No. 9 (a little under 128,000; down 7%) and Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem," which falls two spots to No. 10 (127,000; down 10%).
 
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending July 3) totaled 6.34 million units, up 7% compared to the sum last week (5.92 million) and up 14% compared to the comparable sales week of 2010 (5.54 million). Year to date album sales stand at 155.46 million, up 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (153.96 million). It is the sixth week in a row where year-to-date album volume is greater than the same time in the prior year.
 
Digital track sales this past week totaled 25.45 million downloads, up 1% compared to last week (25.29 million) and up 18% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (21.48 million). Year to date track sales are at 660.80 million, up 11% compared to the same total at this point last year (597.44 million).

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Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2010 when: Eminem's Recovery stayed put at No. 1 for a third straight frame, selling another 229,000 (down 27%). Drake's Thank Me Later was stationary at No. 2 (74,000; down 30%), while Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot was the top debut, arriving at No. 3 (62,000).

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