Harry Styles' 'Fine Line' Album Earns Huge No. 1 Debut on Billboard 200 Chart

harry-styles-2019-press-billboard-1548
Helene Pambrun.

Harry Styles.

The set tallies the third-biggest week of the year for an album in the U.S.

Harry Styles lands his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his sophomore effort Fine Line makes a huge debut atop the list.

The set, which was released on Dec. 13 via Erskine/Columbia Records, earned 478,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Dec. 19, according to Nielsen Music. That figure marks the biggest week for a pop album by a male artist in over four years, the largest week for a Columbia album in more than three years, and the third-biggest week overall for any album in 2019. It also scores the largest sales week for an album by a solo U.K. male artist since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking sales data in 1991.

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). The new Dec. 28-dated chart, where Fine Line debuts at No. 1, will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Dec. 24.

Of Fine Line’s total unit start of 478,000, album sales comprise 393,000; SEA units total 83,000 (equating to 108.7 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s songs); and TEA units equal 3,000.

Here are some notable achievements for Styles with the bow of Fine Line:

Styles’ Second No. 1 Album: Styles goes two-for-two at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as Fine Line follows his previous No. 1, his self-titled debut album in 2017. The latter started atop the list dated June 3, 2017, with 230,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week and 193,000 of that sum in album sales.

First U.K. Male Artist to Debut at No. 1 With First Two Albums: The England-born Styles is the first U.K. male artist to debut at No. 1 with his first two albums. (Further, only two solo U.K. male acts have debuted at No. 1 with their first albums: Styles and his former One Direction bandmate Zayn. The latter launched at No. 1 back in 2016 with Mind of Mine.)

Third-Largest Week for an Album in 2019: Fine Line’s starting sum of 478,000 units marks the third-biggest week of 2019 for any album. Only the debuts of Taylor Swift’s Lover (869,000; Sept. 7 chart) and Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding (489,000; Sept. 21) landed larger frames.

Biggest Week for a Pop Album by a Male Artist in Four Years: Fine Line’s blockbuster bow yields the largest week for a pop album by a male artist in over four years. The last set to notch a bigger week was Justin Bieber’s Purpose, which entered at No. 1 on the Dec. 5, 2015-dated chart with 649,000 units. (Pop albums are those that did not chart on a genre-specific tally such as Alternative Albums or Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, etc.)

Columbia Records’ Biggest Week Since 2016: Fine Line -- released via Erskine/Columbia Records -- gives Columbia its largest overall week for an album since the May 14, 2016-dated chart, when Beyoncé?’s Lemonade (on Parkwood/Columbia) bowed at No. 1 with 653,000 units. Fine Line also logs the largest week for any album released by a Sony Music label in over a year. The last larger week registered by a Sony release was the debut of Travis Scott’s Astroworld (on Cactus Jack/Epic Records), when it started at No. 1 on the Aug. 18, 2018, chart with 537,000 units.

‘Fine Line’ Is Already Among 2019’s Top 10-Selling Albums: After only one week in release, Fine Line is the sixth-largest selling album of 2019. Fine Line, which sold 393,000 copies in its debut week, was bolstered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with his upcoming tour, as well as an array of merchandise/album bundles sold via his official website. So far in 2019, the top-selling album in the U.S. is Taylor Swift’s Lover, with 1.05 million copies sold.

Largest Sales Week for a U.K. Male Artist in Nielsen Music History: Fine Line’s debut sales of 393,000 is the largest sales week for an album by a solo U.K. male artist since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking sales data in 1991. It surpasses the 374,000 sold by Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album over Christmas week of 1992 (reflected on the chart dated Jan. 9, 1993). Both Styles and Clapton were born in England -- Styles in Redditch, Worcestershire, and Clapton in Ripley, Surrey. (The largest sales week for an album by a female U.K. artist -- and for any album -- remains the debut of Adele’s 25 in 2015 with 3.38 million sold. The largest sales frame by a U.K. group is the 1.26 million sold by The Beatles’ greatest hits set 1 over Christmas week of 2000.)

Fourth-Biggest Vinyl Sales Week in Nielsen Music History: Fine Line was also a big seller on vinyl LP, as the album sold 28,000 copies on the format in its debut week. The only larger weeks for a vinyl album since Nielsen Music launched in 1991 were garnered by Adele’s 25 in the week ending Dec. 24, 2015 (31,000), Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy in its opening week (34,000 exclusively on vinyl LP in the week ending Nov. 27, 1994, before it became widely available on CD) and Jack White’s Lazaretto in its debut week (40,000; June 14, 2014). 

At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, country superstar Blake Shelton collects his 12th top 10 album, as Fully Loaded: God’s Country enters with 96,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 83,000 were in album sales. Like Styles’ Fine Line, Shelton’s Fully Loaded was boosted by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer.

The 12-song Fully Loaded: God’s Country album operates as a greatest hits collection for Shelton, and includes five No. 1 hits on the Country Airplay chart: “Came Here to Forget,” “A Guy With a Girl,” “Every Time I Hear That Song,” “I’ll Name the Dogs” and his most recent leader, “God’s Country.”

Fully Loaded is the third in a series of best-of collections for Shelton, following Reloaded: 20 #1 Hits (2015) and Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton (2011).

Fully Loaded also marks the highest-charting greatest hits album on the Billboard 200 since October of 2017, when Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits spent two weeks at No. 2 in the wake of Petty’s death on Oct. 2 of that year.

Back on the new Billboard 200, Roddy Ricch?’s Please Excuse Me for Being Anti-Social dips from No. 1 to No. 3 in its second week, earning 81,000 equivalent album units (down 20%). A trio of former No. 1s follow Ricch: Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding is steady at No. 4 with 63,000 units (down 5%), the Frozen II soundtrack rises 7-5 with 60,000 units (up 3%) and Michael Bublé?’s Christmas ascends 8-6 with 58,000 units (up 11%).

Pentatonix?’s The Best of Pentatonix Christmas hits a new high, rising 9-7 with 56,000 equivalent album units (up 8%, beating its previous peak of No. 8), Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas shifts 12-8 with 51,000 units (up 18%) and Billie Eilish?’s former No. 1 When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? steps 11-9 with 49,000 units (up less than 1%).

Swift’s previous leader Lover rounds out the top 10, moving 13-10 with 47,000 equivalent album units earned (up 9%).

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