The stealth Thursday evening (9 p.m PT) release of Beyonce's self-titled fifth solo studio set is likely headed towards a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 when that chart's top 10 is revealed on Wednesday, Dec. 18. The iTunes exclusive "visual" album, retailing for $15.99 contains 14 tracks -- not available for a la carte purchases until Dec. 20 -- and 14 accompanying videos, along with other bonus video content. As of this morning, no set date has been announced for the CD release to physical retailers or of its availability on other digital download sites.
In just a three-hour sales window (closing at midnight Friday PT), "Beyonce" reportedly sold over 80,000 copies, according to industry sources. It's still too early to judge what the set will do over the full three days left in the sales tracking week (which ends Sunday night), but with prior projected leader, "Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades Of Influences" by Garth Brooks, estimated to shift 150,000-160,000 units, Beyonce is already halfway to that sum. And in the time it would take someone to fly from New York to Miami.