Diddy does it again

The man can sell stuff, but his biggest product remains himself.

Diddy's Bad Boy/Atlantic bow, Press Play, appears ready to top next week's HITS album chart, though the projected total of between 175-185k can't be considered a triumphant bow. His last album, 1999's Forever, sold 205k on its way to a total of 1.4m, back when he was still known as Puff Daddy. That's what our vast network of retail contacts around this wunnerful land of ours still taking our phone calls tell us, based on their own one-day sales reports.

Universal Motown teenage diva JoJo's The High Road is on target to sell north of 100k, a slight increase over her '04 debut, which tallied 95k in its first week, thanks to a smash single in “Too Little Too Late.”

Capitol Nashville country stud Dierks Bentley's Long Trip Alone will have plenty of company to the tune of between 80-100k buyers, with approximately 99.9% of those sales coming in the red states. J's American Idol winner Ruben Studdard's The Return is just that for the now diminished big guy, whose non-gospel effort is expected to attract some 60k true believers, give or take a “k” or two.

MCA Nashville perennial Vince Gill's massive four-CD box set, These Days, could sell upwards of 40k copies, a pretty impressive feat considering a retail price over $20.

Next Tuesday, look for Columbia's John Legend, Gospocentric/ZLG's Kelly Price, WB's My Chemical Romance, Epic's Ben Folds and Saddle Creek's Bright Eyes to top the release schedule.

The market was down between 3-4% from last week, down over 2% vs. same week last year and now down a little over 5% year-to-date.

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