Santa Monica, California, January 5, 2005: Mary J. Blige must have been having an enlightened moment when she titled her seventh album, ‘The Breakthrough.’ Released on December 20th, it lived up to its title and rocketed up the Billboard chart to debut at #1. Massive first week sales of 727,163 earned it the honor of being the best opening week for a solo R&B female artist in SoundScan history. Additionally, ‘The Breakthrough’ has the distinction of being the fourth-best debut of all of 2005. Releasing ‘The Breakthrough’ Christmas week was considered by many as an unconventional strategy, due to the fierce competition in the retail space. However, the decision to put the record out that week obviously worked in Mary’s favor as ‘The Breakthrough’ has sold nearly a million copies in its first two weeks of release. Billboard Magazine tipped their hat to the approach when they wrote, ‘Ok, so maybe dropping an album the week before Christmas is not such a bad idea after all, as evidenced by new Billboard 200 Queen Mary J. Blige.’ Furthermore, ‘The Breakthrough’ is still generating unstoppable momentum at retail. Orders continue to roll in — the CD has now shipped 1.5 million copies and counting. On the charts, Mary continues to rule the upper echelon as she sits pretty at #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 in SoundScan’s Top 25 markets. The on-line sector has championed Mary, as well, as ‘The Breakthrough’ has held the #1 position on the digital album chart for the past two weeks.
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