Taylor Swift’s Folklore album returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, collecting a seventh nonconsecutive week atop the tally. In doing so, Swift surpasses Whitney Houston’s longstanding record, among women, for the most cumulative weeks at No. 1, across all of her chart-topping albums. Swift’s total weeks at No. 1 now stands at 47, one more than Houston’s tally of 46. Folklore earned 87,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 24 (up 97 percent), according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Oct. 3-dated chart (where Folklore returns to No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's website on Sept. 29. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Folklore’s 87,000 units earned in the tracking week ending Sept. 24, album sales comprise 56,000 (up 339 percent), SEA units comprise 30,000 (down 4 percent) equaling 39.8 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs) and TEA units total 1,000 (up 38 percent).
Folklore’s fortunes perked up in the newest tracking week, as Swift sold more signed CD copies of the album through her official webstore and via independent record stores (as she’s done in previous weeks) and also issued more merchandise/album bundles in her webstore. She additionally profits from the release of a new live version of the album’s single “Betty,” as performed on the Academy of Country Music Awards (held on Sept. 16). The live rendition was released to YouTube shortly after the awards, while it reached digital retail and other streaming services on Sept. 18. For tracking purposes, the new version of “Betty” is combined with its original version.
Swift also promoted Folklore on streaming services with another release (on Sept. 21) of a thematic “chapter” of songs from the album (as she’s done in previous weeks). Such collections of songs get prominent placement on streaming services, appearing as the latest release from Swift.
As noted above, Folklore returns to No. 1 for a seventh nonconsecutive week on top. In doing so, Swift’s total weeks at No. 1 -- across all seven of her chart-topping albums -- now stands at 47, a new record among female artists. She surpasses Whitney Houston’s sum of 46 weeks at No. 1. (Houston held the record for the most weeks at No. 1 among women since 1987.)
Houston notched four No. 1 albums: her self-titled debut (14 weeks at No. 1 in 1986), her sophomore release Whitney (11 in 1987), The Bodyguard soundtrack (20 in 1992-93) and I Look to You (one week in 2009).
Following Swift and Houston, Adele has the third-most weeks at No. 1 among women, with 34 weeks from her two No. 1s: 21 (24 in 2011-12) and 25 (10 in 2015-16).
The all-time leaders with the most weeks at No. 1 are The Beatles, with 132 weeks at No. 1 across their record 19 chart-topping albums. The male act (and solo artist) with the most weeks atop the list is Elvis Presley, with 67.
Here’s a roundup of every act with at least 30 weeks at No. 1, since the Billboard 200 chart began publishing on a regular weekly basis on March 24, 1956: The Beatles (132 weeks), Elvis Presley (67), Garth Brooks (52), Michael Jackson (51), Taylor Swift (47), Whitney Houston (46), The Kingston Trio (46), Elton John (39), Fleetwood Mac (38), The Rolling Stones (38), Harry Belafonte (37), The Monkees (37), Prince (35), Adele (34), Eminem (34), Eagles (30) and Mariah Carey (30).
Folklore additionally continues to have the most weeks at No. 1 for any album since Drake’s Views ruled for 13 nonconsecutive weeks in 2016. Folklore also continues to have the most weeks at No. 1 among all non-R&B/hip-hop titles, and albums by women, since Adele’s 25 landed 10 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 in 2015-16.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Pop Smoke’s former leader, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, is a non-mover with 75,000 equivalent album units earned (up 2 percent).
YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s Top falls from No. 1 to No. 3 in its second week on the list, earning 63,000 equivalent album units (down 50 percent).
Alicia Keys collects her eighth top 10 album, as her latest studio effort, Alicia, bows at No. 4 with 62,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 51,000 are from album sales, 10,000 from SEA units (equaling 13.6 million in on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and 1,000 from TEA units. Alicia’s album sales were bolstered by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with her upcoming U.S. tour, which was slated to begin on July 28, but has since been postponed to 2021.
Alicia was initially set for release on March 20, but was delayed due to concerns relating to COVID-19. Alicia is Keys’ first studio set since 2016’s Here debuted and peaked at No. 2.
All seven of Keys’ studio albums have reached the top four on the Billboard 200. She additionally logged a top 10 with the No. 1 live set Unplugged in 2005.
Juice WRLD’s former leader Legends Never Die slips from No. 3 to No. 5 with 51,000 equivalent album units (down 4 percent).
Rappers Moneybagg Yo and Blac Youngsta team up for the No. 6 arrival of their collaborative album Code Red (a little over 40,000 equivalent album units earned). Of that sum, nearly 37,000 are from SEA units (equaling 51.5 million in on-demand streams of the set’s tracks), 3,000 from album sales and 1,000 from TEA units. Code Red is Moneybagg Yo’s second top 10 of 2020 (following the No. 3 peak of Time Served in January) and fourth top 10 overall. It’s the first top 10 for Blac Youngsta, who had previously gone as high as No. 42 with 223 in 2018.
Keith Urban nabs his eighth top 10 album on the Billboard 200, as The Speed of Now, Part 1 arrives at No. 7 with 40,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 27,000 are from album sales, 10,000 from SEA units (equaling 13.3 million in on-demand streams of the set’s tracks) and 2,000 from TEA units.
Urban also marks his 20th anniversary on the Billboard 200, as his self-titled debut U.S. album arrived on the list dated Aug. 26, 2000 (at No. 188). It later peaked at No. 145. He followed it up with Golden Road, a No. 11-peaking set in 2002. He scored his first top 10 with his next release, Be Here, which reached No. 3 in 2004. (Urban made his overall Billboard chart debut -- across all charts -- on Aug. 28, 1999, when his single “It’s a Love Thing” debuted on the Hot Country Songs chart.)
The original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical, falls from No. 5 to No. 8 with 39,000 equivalent album units earned (down 5 percent). Lil Baby’s former No. 1 My Turn slides from No. 6 to No. 9 with 38,000 units (down 4 percent).
The fourth and final debut in the top 10 is Lil Tecca’s Virgo World at No. 10 with 34,000 equivalent album units earned. It’s the rapper’s second chart entry and second top 10, following We Love You Tecca (No. 4 in 2019). Of Virgo World’s starting sum, 30,000 are from SEA units (equaling 42.6 million in on-demand streams of the set’s tracks), 4,000 from album sales and a negligible sum from TEA units.