Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” Sells 288K, Debuts at Number One

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It might have fallen short of the 300,000 threshold, but Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” was unmistakable in its dominance.

According to Nielsen Soundscan, the hotly anticipated follow-up to “Chief” moved an impressive 287,688 copies in its first week of release. The total, which gives Church his second number one on the Billboard 200, ranks as the best for a country album since Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” moved more than 500,000 in August 2013.

Proof that Church is a bona fide country superstar, the opening sales figure ranks as the fourth best among the latest releases from the genre’s elite. Of those albums, only Taylor Swift’s “Red,” Bryan’s “Party” and Jason Aldean’s “Night Train” had stronger opening weeks.

“Chief,” which produced the singles that solidified Church as a mainstream country star, opened with 145,000 sales.