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Sony BMG dominates the charts: Usher, Britney Spears, Ciara, R. Kelly, Bowling For Soup and Three Days Grace; Usher explodes with with 24->2 SoundScan jump and 709% sales increase for worlwide 10-million selling 'Confessions (Special Edition)'

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NEW YORK (Sony BMG) - LaFace recording artist Usher's Confessions (Special Edition) has posted an unprecedented 709% Soundscan sales increase this week, jumping from No 24 to No 2 on the Billboard 200 Albums charts and to No 1 on the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Albums chart. At the same time, Sho'nuff/LaFace recording artist Ciara's debut album Goodies moves to No 3 R&B and No 10 Pop (after debuting at No 1/R&B and No 3/Pop last week). With two albums in the top 10, and combined sales this week of more than 400,000 units on those two titles alone the Zomba Label Group (ZLG) continues to dominate retail in a BIG way.

Adding to Zomba's success, and waiting to hit the charts in four weeks are Jive recording artist Britney Spears' Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, her first-ever CD and DVD collections, set to arrive in stores on November 9th. The CD will contain 20 songs, while the limited-edition interactive DVD (housing a bonus remix CD) will gather all 20 of Britney's hit videos since 1999. Each package opens with "My Prerogative," her latest single and video, currently on more than 100 Top 40 radio stations and in rotation on MTV, VH1 and The Fuse. Britney recently received three European Video Music Awards.

Internationally, Usher has re-exploded in virtually every major market, as Confessions (Special Edition) rises from No 0 to No 3 in Canada (where it is 4-times platinum); from No 32 to No 10 in England (where it is 3-times platinum); and from No 32 to No 23 in Holland (where it is gold). The album is powered by no less than four smash hit singles, including the three consecutive No 1 Pop/ No 1 R&B hits "Yeah!" (featuring Lil' Jon & Ludacris), "Burn" and "Confessions Part II," along with the newest "My Boo" by Usher with J Records artist Alicia Keys. The No 2 Pop/ No 2 R&B "My Boo" is one of four previously unissued bonus tracks included on this reconfiguration of the 5-times platinum album, which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide to date. "My Boo" is currently in rotation at MTV, VH1, MTV-2 and The Fuse. Usher just received four European Video Music Awards as well.

The original Confessions CD debuted at No 1 Pop and R&B upon its release in March, then spent 9 (non-consecutive) weeks at No 1 through June. It was charted at No 24 last week, and is now supplanted on Soundscan by Usher's brand new Confessions (Special Edition).

Ciara's Goodies is named for its title track hit single, "Goodies" featuring Petey Pablo, now in its 7th consecutive week at No 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and No 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The second single from the album is "1, 2 Step" featuring Missy Elliott, who will appear in the upcoming video that was shot this week in Atlanta. Directing was Benny Boom, whose credits include the "Goodies" video, as well as clips with Nelly ("Dilemma," featuring Kelly Rowland), Clipse ("Hot Damn," featuring Rosco P. Coldchain), LL Cool J ("Luv U Better"), and many others. Upcoming tele-vision appearances for Ciara include "Showtime At The Apollo" on October 23rd, the Radio Music Awards (25th), and the American Music Awards (November 14th). The video for "Goodies" is currently in rotation at MTV, VH1-1, BET and The Fuse.

R. Kelly, whose newest single "Red Carpet (Pause, Flash)" is the most- played single on R&B radio, is currently on the sold-out "Best of Both Worlds" Tour with Jay-Z. The two-hour-plus spectacle of non-stop hits from both artists includes songs such as "Fiesta," "Ignition (Remix)," "Bump n' Grind," as well as their current hits "Big Chips" and "Don't Let Me Die." The tour has been getting great reviews including "3 * stars out of 4" from USA Today.

From the rock world at the Zomba Label Group:
"All of the songs on this album are good," says Dan Aquilante, music editor at the New York Post, of Bowling For Soup's 7th album, A Hangover You Don't Deserve. Their smash single "1985" is the most requested song at Z-100 in New York, and No 3 at Carson Daly. The video for "1985" is the No 1 played clip at Fuse TV and can also be seen on VH1-1, MTV and MTV2. Watch for the band to perform October 19th on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Three Days Grace will re-release their self-titled debut CD on October 26th. The re-packaging contains such extras as videos of "I Hate Everything About You," "Just Like You" and their newest single "Home." It also contains concert footage from the band's performance in Brazil, a Rolling Stone "Rhapsody" real music acoustic performance, and an added bonus of "RU Ready." Nearing platinum status in the US, Three Days Grace are now touring with Hoobastank. "Home" was the No 1 most added track at Alternative and Rock radio last week and No 1 most increased at Alternative Rock Radio this week.

From the world of Gospel at Verity:
2004 marks the 10th Anniversary for Verity Records proving both its stability and its position as a leader in the genre. Verity Records was established in 1994 and is currently the largest Gospel label in the United States, making a lasting impression on both the recording industry and listening public, and becoming the premiere source for quality recorded Gospel music. Home to many successful Gospel artists such as long time label mates Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, Hezekiah Walker and Richard Smallwood, Verity also represents the genre's future with contemporary artists Deitrick Haddon, Tonex and Debra Killings. Over the last few years, Verity has also announced many important signings including top-sellers Donnie McClurkin, Vickie Winans and most recently Donald Lawrence. Perhaps most visible as a songwriter and producer, Verity Records just released Lawrence's solo project entitled I Speak Life, a collaborative effort featuring the biggest names in Gospel, Jazz and R&B. 2005 holds just as much promise with anticipated releases from heavy-hitters Donnie McClurkin; Hezekiah Walker and Richard Smallwood as well as the perennial number one album series, WOW Gospel.

Upcoming releases from the Zomba Label Group in 2005 include Backstreet Boys, Nivea, Syleena Johnson & Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, OutKast, Richard Smallwood, Hezekiah Walker, and the next volume in the WOW Gospel series.

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