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Chris Stapleton Wins US Sales Race, But Kanye West’s “TLOP” Claims #1 on Billboard 200

Kanye West [NBC]

Update: Billboard has made the news official: Kanye West’s “The Life Of Pablo” is the #1 album on this week’s Billboard 200 album consumption chart.

It becomes West’s seventh #1 album. It also becomes the first album to earn #1 primarily on the strength of streaming units.

Billboard says the album generated 99 million track streams in conjunction with its first week of availability on the full gamut of streaming services. The count amounts to 66K in Streaming Equivalent Albums, which is the second-largest weekly streaming total posted by a #1 album since Billboard began ranking albums based on total consumption. Only Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” (67K SEA units in its first week) has generated a greater sum.

“TLOP” also generated 28K weekly units from pure album sales; it was available for purchase on a very limited basis, with the overwhelming majority of sales coming from Kanye West’s official website and TIDAL.

In all, “TLOP” generated 94K weekly consumption units.

— While “TLOP” starts at #1 on the overall BB200 chart, Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller” returns to #1 on Top Album Sales. Aided by exposure on CBS Sunday Morning and the ACM Awards, “Traveller” generated 59K weekly sales. With SEA (track streams/1500) and TEA (track sales/10) added to its pure sales total, it generated 73K in weekly consumption and takes #2 on the Billboard 200.

The balance of the Billboard 200’s Top 5: Lukas Graham’s “Lukas Graham” (#3), Weezer’s “Weezer” (#4), and Twenty88’s “Twenty 88” (#5).
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While Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller” comfortably won the weekly sales race (and will lead Top Album Sales), it will apparently not return to #1 on the Billboard 200.

Based on data from Hits Daily Double, that honor will instead fall to Kanye West’s “The Life Of Pablo,” which is set to debut atop the consumption chart in conjunction with its first week of wide streaming availability.

Throughout the week, talk grew that Kanye West’s album had an outside chance of contending for #1 on the Billboard 200 based purely on its weekly streaming total.

What few presumed, however, was that the album would also sell a meaningful number of copies through West’s official website and TIDAL, the only outlets at which one can buy the album. The combination of that pure sales figure and SEA (track streams/1500) resulted in a far stronger than expected first-week consumption total — and thus a clearer than expected victory in the weekly race.

According to data from Hits Daily Double, “Traveller” led the weekly US sales race with ~59,012 copies. With TEA (track sales/10) and SEA (track streams/1500) added to the pure sales total, the album generated approximately 72,877 in weekly units.

West’s album, meanwhile, generated ~90,152 units.

Consistent with mid-week projections, about 65,139 units are attributable to SEA (approximately 97.7 million streams/1500). The remaining ~25,013 are in the form of pure sales; the figure is the week’s sixth-best sales total.

When speculating about the album’s prospects, most figured it would be lucky to sell 10,000 pure US copies during the tracking week. In selling so many pure copies, “TLOP” appears to have pulled out an easy victory on the Billboard 200.

It is worth noting that Billboard’s more authoritative data typically differs from that reported by Hits. The differential should not, however, change the key outcomes: “Traveller” will be #1 on Top Album Sales, while “TLOP” will be #1 on the Billboard 200.

This week’s other top pure sales performers: Weezer’s “Weezer” (~43,486), Twenty88’s “Twenty88” (~40,370), Lukas Graham’s “Lukas Graham” (~36,806), and Adele’s “25” (~29,240)

This week’s other top consumption performers: Lukas Graham’s “Lukas Graham” (~59,649), Twenty88’s “Twenty88” (~47,987), Weezer’s “Weezer” (~46,954).

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]headlineplanet.com.

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