Kanye West's third album Graduation is well ahead of rival rapper 50 Cent's third disc Curtis in a highly-publicized sales battle.
According to September 18 data from tracking firm Neilsen SoundScan, Graduation sold 957,000 copies in the United States during the six days ending September 16. Curtis is trailing with 691,000 sales. West is also ahead of 50 Cent in the United Kingdom, where Graduation debuted atop the album chart.
West's tally is the largest since 50 Cent's previous album The Massacre, which sold 1.1 million units in March 2005 and spent six weeks at number one. It also exceeds West's previous album Late Registration, which sold 860,000 units in 2005 while spending two weeks at number one.
The totals represent a rare bit of good news for the beleaguered U.S. record industry, which has suffered declining sales for the better part of a decade. Neilsen SoundScan says overall album sales for 2007 trail last year's numbers by about 15 percent.
Both West and 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, record for the world's biggest music conglomerate, Universal Music Group. It, in turn, is owned by French media concern Vivendi.