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Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Prince's Streaming Return Pushes '4Ever' Hits Album Back To Top 40

Prince performs on Feb. 18, 1986 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
AP Photo/Liu Heung Shing

Prince performs on Feb. 18, 1986 at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated March 4), the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack debuted at No. 1, besting the No. 2 debut and peak of its predecessor, the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. The new album launched with 123,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 16, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 72,000 were in traditional album sales.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).

The rest of the top 10 was filled with titles that gained thanks to the exposure earned on the Grammy Awards (Feb. 12), including big gains from Adele’s album of the year-winning 25 and Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the latest Billboard 200 chart:

Various Artists, 2017 Grammy Nominees - No. 19 — The 2017 Grammy Nominees compilation -- which highlights artists, albums and songs nominated for awards at this year’s Grammys -- rises from No. 31 to No. 19 with 24,000 units (up 85 percent), all from traditional album sales. The album has so far peaked at No. 16, its debut position. With the new chart reflecting the impact of the Grammy Awards ceremony, which was held Feb. 12 and aired live on CBS TV, it’s unlikely the album will move any higher on the chart. If it doesn’t, it will mark the lowest rank for the Grammy Nominees compilation series since the first release, 1996 Grammy Nominees, which also peaked at No. 16.

Prince, 4Ever - No. 33 — Prince’s recent greatest-hits compilation gets a big boost, as expected, rising from No. 189 to a new peak, No. 33 (16,000 units; up 263 percent). Of its total unit sum for the week, 7,000 were in streaming equivalent albums -- a gain of 12,634 percent. Streams for the album’s songs grew tremendously after Prince’s Warner Bros. Records catalog of songs reached all streaming services on Feb. 12, after previously only being available through Tidal.

The 40-song 4Ever features one previously unreleased tune ("Moonbeam Levels"), along with 39 songs released between 1978 and 1993 during Prince’s time with Warner Bros. Records -- from “Soft and Wet” (his first charting single on the Billboard Hot 100) to “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Of Prince’s 30 top 40-charting hit songs on the Hot 100, 24 of them are represented on the 4Ever compilation.

4Ever initially peaked at No. 35 in its second week on the chart, back on the Dec. 17, 2016-dated list.

— Rag 'N' Bone Man, Human – No. 126 — The singer/songwriter’s single “Human” was a hit throughout Europe late last year (reaching No. 2 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart) and is now making inroads on Billboard’s charts. The track is in its fourth straight week at No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart and hits a new peak on the Hot Rock Songs tally, climbing 10-8. It also debuts on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart at No. 20. The album starts with 6,000 equivalent album units earned for the week, and also launches at No. 2 on the Heatseekers Albums chart. Over in the U.K., where the artist just won the Brit Award for British breakthrough act (Feb. 22), the album debuted at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart.  

Joey + Rory, Hymns - No. 166 — Hymns earned the act its first Grammy Award (for best roots gospel album) on Feb. 12, and in turn the set returns to the list at No. 166 -- its first week on the tally since last November. It earned a 159 percent unit gain, rising to 5,000 units earned during the tracking frame. On the Top Country Albums chart, the former No. 1 set climbs back onto the list at No. 27.

Michael Bolton, Songs of Cinema – No. 177 — The singer claims his 19th charting album, as Songs of Cinema unspools at No. 177. The covers effort -- which boasts familiar favorites like “I Will Always Love You” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” -- is Bolton’s first charting set since 2013’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A., debuted and peaked at No. 38. Bolton first visited the Billboard 200 chart 34 years ago, when his self-titled album bowed at No. 195 on the May 7, 1983-dated list. 

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