New albums from Ariana Grande and Tamar Braxton are battling it out in a race for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart next week.
Industry sources suggest the former's debut effort, "Yours Truly," may sell between 115,000 to 120,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Sept. 8. Meanwhile, Braxton's second set, "Love & War," is on course to move 110,000 to 115,000.
As of today (Sept. 6), forecasters think the race is too early to call, and could go either way.
It would seem that sentiment isn't lost on the artists' respective camps, either. Promotions are in full swing to get last-minute sales as the tracking week draws to a close on Sunday. The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 11.
For Grande, yesterday saw the launch of a well-received (so say sources) album download promotion tied to a holiday party hosted by Grande. Those consumers who purchase her album via her Web site (but only through Sunday night), will get a ticket to one of a series of events with Grande, scheduled for later this year. Details of such an event haven't been announced, but one could imagine it possibly being a concert involving a meet-and-greet opportunity with Grande.
The holiday party promotion was tweeted not only by Grande (to her 9.3 million followers), but also by her manager, Scooter Braun (and to his 3 million followers).
At the present, Grande's album is selling for $7.99 in the iTunes Store, while also being offered for $7.98 on her Web site. Braxton's "Love & War," meanwhile, is going for $10.99 at iTunes, but just $3.99 through Braxton's official Web store and $7.99 at Amazon MP3.
The $3.99 version available through Braxton's store also comes with a signed lithograph.
Both artists are appearing on the "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" show this evening as well. Braxton is sitting in with house band the Roots for the entire hour, while Grande is seemingly a last-minute addition to the guest list -- her appearance wasn't announced until late on Friday.
A No. 1 for either artist would be her first chart topper -- Braxton's first album, "Tamar," debuted and peaked at No. 127 in 2000.
Not in the running for No. 1 at this point is Nine Inch Nails' new album, "Hesitation Marks." The set should move around 100,000 in its first week, and will likely start at No. 3.
On SoundScan's Building chart (below), Grande and Braxton are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. 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.
As for the rest of the top 10: Nine Inch Nails is No. 3, while John Legend's new "Love In the Future" is No. 4. The latter could finish the week with maybe 55,000 sold.
Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" is No. 5, followed by Jaheim's new "Appreciation Day" at No. 6. The R&B singer might bow with around 50,000. Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" and Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience" follow at Nos. 7 and 8, respectively. Bastille's debut full-length album, "Bad Blood," is ranked at No. 9, and could sell around 30,000. The British band's album is led by the single "Pompeii," which rises 8-7 on the Alternative airplay chart this week.
Imagine Dragon's "Night Visions" closes out the top 10 at No. 10.