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DETROIT (Billboard) - After reports of dissatisfaction, panic and other pre-release drama, Columbia Records executives say Beyonce's new album "4" is off to a strong start since going on sale worldwide on Monday.
Early indications are that the album will debut at No. 1 in as many as 14 countries, including the United States, Columbia/Epic Label Group Chairman Rob Stringer told Billboard.com.
The first single, "Run the World (Girls)," stalled at No. 29 on the Hit 100 after it was leaked. The album itself was leaked on June 7, three weeks ahead of its June 28 release date. This led to reports that "4" would be delayed and possible altered -- particularly after a tepid response from the blogosphere.
"We didn't want the leaks to happen," Stringer said. "But there was never any discussion of this album moving. It has always been that date. It's been that date for four months now. There was never a conversation about pushing it back, bringing it forward, changing the songs -- none of it."
Stringer said the company is looking at an 18-month campaign for "4," which will include "extensive touring" by Beyonce. Just back from a successful overseas run that included three concerts in France and a closing-night gig at the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival, she'll roll out a documentary, "Beyonce: Year of 4," on Thursday on MTV and BET, then perform Friday on ABC's GMA Summer Concert Series. She'll head back to the U.K. for a July 9 show at Scotland's T in the Park and a stop the next day at a festival in Ireland.
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