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NOW 16 Debuts At #1

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — With first week sales of over 504,411, Now That's What I Call Music! Volume 16 debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top 200 Album chart, the fifth time that a Now album has debuted at #1 on the Top 200.

The Now That's What I Call Music series has shipped over 50 million since it was introduced in the US six years ago and remains the most successful branded compilation ever launched in the music business. The NOW brand is a cooperative project of EMI Music, The Universal Music Group, and The Sony Music Group.

"We are elated at the performance of NOW 16," said
Bruce Resnikoff, president of releasing label UMe. "It demonstrates the on-going strength of our successful joint project

and the contribution it continues to make to the individual artists and labels."

"This debut is huge, and we are really encouraged that the NOW brand appears to be stronger than ever with America's music consumer," said Phil Quartararo, president of EMI Music Marketing."

Many retailers including mass merchant giant Wal-Mart, reported their biggest first day sales figures on any NOW release for NOW 16. Scott Hartwig, senior buyer of music at Best Buy reports, "Our current first week sales trend will put NOW 16 20% ahead of the first week velocity of both NOW 14 and 15. With the strongest track listing of the last three versions, I look forward to NOW 16 maintaining a robust presence in the marketplace."

The resurgence in sales of the NOW brand's last three releases reflects not only the strength of their repertoire but also the steadily improving health of the music industry. Sales analysts at UMVD report that music sales for the whole industry were up 6.9% during the first six months of 2004 over the same period last year.

Featuring such chart-topping hits as "Hey Ya!" by Outkast, "Naughty Girl" by Beyoncé, Hoobastank's "The Reason", "My Band" by D12, Jessica Simpson's "Take My Breath Away", Chingy's "One Call Away" and fourteen others, Now 16 is just the latest Now release to achieve massive sales success – Now 15, released in March 2004, is well on it's way to double platinum sales and Now 14 is already certified triple Platinum.

The series debuted in the United States in 1998 after the NOW! brand had been an enormous, multi-platinum international success for nearly 20 years with some 56 volumes featuring pop hits released in the UK alone. To date, the NOW! series has generated sales of 135 million albums worldwide. Every album in the US NOW! series has reached the Billboard Top 10 and five have now debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, making NOW! the only non-soundtrack, multi-artist collection to occupy the top spot on this distinguished album sales chart.

NOW 4 became the first of its kind to debut at #1 when it accomplished that feat in July 2000. NOW 6 (March 2001), NOW 7 (July 2001) and NOW 9 (April 2002) also achieved #1 debut status. The week of December 8, 2001 marked the first time two albums in one series were simultaneous Top 5 hits, when NOW That's What I Call Music, Vol 8! debuted at #2 and the two CD set, NOW That's What I Call Christmas! soared to #3 in the Billboard Top 200 Chart. More recently, Now 15 debuted at #2 in March of this year and Now 14 debuted at # 3 in November 2003. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen