Jay-Z has helped Justin Timberlake to his best start yet on the Hot 100 with their pairing Holy Grail going straight into the Top 10.
Taken from Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail, which has this week given the rapper his 13th No 1 on the Billboard 200, the track enters at No 8 to easily beat Timberlake's previous best start of 22 achieved with his 50 Cent pairing Ayo Technology in 2007. For Jay-Z it is his second best start on the chart, having debuted at 5 in 2008 with Swagga Like Us alongside TI, Kanye West and Lil Wayne.
The high debut caps an excellent week for Shawn Carter whose Magna Carta album entered at No 1 this week with 528,000 copies sold, 2013's second best tally behind Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, which opened with 968,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Only The Beatles have had more No 1s on the Billboard 200 than Jay-Z with 19 chart-toppers.
Magna Carta is expected to have a comfortable victory next week and its high sales are desperately needed in a market that is struggling to match 2012's numbers. Despite its 528,000 unit contribution, the albums market last week was 10.9% lower than during the equivalent week in 2012 with 4.98 million units sold, while was up 2.5% on the previous week when J Cole's Born Sinner led with just 58,000 sales. Year-to-date sales are 151.83 million, 6.2% lower than where they were last year.
A reason the market is so down on a year ago is that below Magna Carta no other album came close to selling more than 100,000 sales. The second best the sector has to offer is 59,000, sending Ciara's self-titled set in at No 2. J Cole drops to 3 with sales down 32% to 40,000 as Florida Georgia Line's Here To The Good Times moves up 5-4 with sales up 5% to 33,000. It swaps places with Imagine Dragons' Night Visions, which is down to 5 with sales dropping 8% to nearly 33,000.
Jay-Z's Watch The Throne partner Kanye West declines 3-6 with sales of Yeezus shrinking 26% to 29,000, while fellow former No 1 The Gifted by Wale falls 2-7 with sales off 44% to 28,000. Skylar Grey, best known for her contributions to the likes of Dr Dre's I Need A Doctor, is new at 8 after Don't Look Down having sold 24,000 copies and Daft Punk's Random Access Memories drops 7-9 as sales slip 17% to 23,000. Meanwhile, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's The Heist eases 8-10 with sales reduced by 5% to 23,000.
As their pairing I Need Your Love gains three notches to a new peak of 17 on the Hot 100, Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding's latest albums make strong gains on the Billboard 200. Goulding's Halycon, which previously peaked at 9, is up 125-55, while Harris's 18 Months is back in at 89 having originally debuted and peaked at 19. Ahead of them are three long-running British albums with Mumford & Sons climbing 30-25 with Babel, Adele's 21 up 35-32 and Ed Sheeran's + returning to the Top 40 with a 64-35-place climb. However his Lego House is down 73-84 on the Hot 100 as Labrinth's Beneath Your Beautiful with Emeli Sande slips 92-96.
In the week it surpassed a million sales in the UK, Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines with TI and Pharrell Williams equals the longest stay at the top of the Hot 100 this year with a sixth straight week in charge. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's Thrift Shop with Wanz also spent that long at No 1, although its run was interrupted after four weeks and it returned to the top five weeks later for another fortnight.
Blurred Lines remains the US's biggest download seller with another 384,000 copies sold to take its cumulative tally up to 3.2 million units, while on the Hot 100 Daft Punk's Get Lucky with Pharrell Williams holds at 2, Miley Cyrus's We Can't Stop remains at 3 and there is no change either at 4 with Imagine Dragons' Radioactive. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's second Hot 100 No 1 Can't Hold Us is back up 6-5.
Despite Blurred Lines' best efforts, the one-track digital market was down 6.6% week-on-week last week to 22.8 million units, while was 9.2% lower than the equivalent week in 2012. There have been 729.4 million singles downloads sold so far this year, 2.6% lower than where the market was 12 months ago.