A big day in music -- Garth Brooks, Jewel, and Whitney Houston release albums on November 17, 1998
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Imagine if the Truman Show, Armageddon, and Saving Private Ryan all opened on the same day. For the music industry, Nov. 17 was that kind of day. A multitude of major pop acts released albums on Super Tuesday, including new CDs from Garth Brooks, Whitney Houston, Jewel, Method Man, and Seal — not to mention a Mariah Carey anthology, and three separate Prince of Egypt soundtracks. ”The summer seemed really soft. All those records were just pent up,” says marketing consultant Paula Morris (who’s worked with Celine Dion, among others). With such a heavyweight slugfest, there’s sure to be fallout. Here’s a closer look:

Garth Brooks, Double Live
Calling Brooks a bit aggressive as a marketer is like calling Marilyn Manson a bit offbeat. Brooks wants to be the first to sell a million units in a week, so he’s employing gimmicks like multiple covers and discounted prices. And Brooks knows how to get fans into stores: On Tuesday, he did a closed-circuit concert beamed to Wal-Marts nationwide, and he was set to perform three times (for different time zones) on NBC on Wednesday. Expect sales even bigger than his ego.

Jewel, Spirit
”Hands,” the first single from her heavily anticipated second album, looks to have legs, but don’t expect a fighting Spirit the first week. Stiff competition may keep the poet-folkie from big initial numbers. ”Jewel’s story is going to be in the long run,” says Ron Shapiro, Atlantic’s exec VP and general manager.

Whitney Houston, My Love Is Your Love
Houston’s first non-soundtrack album in eight years had little prerelease hype. Why? It almost wasn’t ready by the 17th, the release date of ”When You Believe,” her Egypt duet with Carey. Says Arista exec VP Charles Goldstuck, ”Additional setup time would have helped us the first week, but we think its potential life cycle is the next 52 weeks.”

Method Man, Tical 2000
The Wu-Tang Clan member should do well — major hip-hop acts usually have big first-week sales despite other new CDs. ”We’ll sell more because more people are in the stores,” says Def Jam’s Russell Simmons.

Seal, Human Being
Despite coming on the heels of a hit album, Human is getting little radio support. Seal may face choppy waters.

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