Swift's 1989 also leads the Top Album Sales chart, selling 172,000 copies (down 47 percent). It's ahead of the Sales chart's runner-up set, the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, by more than 100,000 copies. (More on that in a moment.)
Back on the Billboard 200, there's a bit of movement in the top 10, as the chart gets shaken up now that the Christmas shopping season is fully behind us. While Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint holds steady at No. 2 (84,000 units; down 46 percent, with 51,000 in album sales; down 52 percent), Ed Sheeran's x vaults 7-3 with 83,000 units (down 26 percent). It is the album's highest rank since its second week on the chart (dated July 19, 2014) when it fell 1-2.
While Sheeran's album is down by 26 percent, as the latest chart week tracks the first full sales frame after Christmas, it's actually an achievement for an album to have a relatively moderate decline. Thus, it rises up the chart as it erodes comparably less than other titles around it. (Overall album sales, for example, were down by 47 percent.)
On the Top Album Sales chart, x rises 11-7 with 39,000 (down 38 percent). More than half of his album's overall unit total on the Billboard 200 is comprised of SEA and TEA (mostly TEA, where his track equivalent total is 37,000 for the week).
Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour climbs 5-4 on the Billboard 200 with 82,000 units (down 33 percent). It sold 48,000 albums (down 40 percent; rising 7-5 on Top Album Sales).
The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack zooms 9-5 on the Billboard 200 with 70,000 units (down just 13 percent) -- with its entire total derived from pure album sales. On the Top Album Sales chart, the all-oldies set flies 6-2.
Soundtracks tend to make headway on the album charts in early January each year, especially those from music-heavy films like Guardians of the Galaxy. It's generally believed that consumers who receive gift cards for Christmas (for the iTunes Store and other digital retailers) tend to redeem them for familiar titles, oftentimes soundtracks. As Guardians of the Galaxy is the highest-grossing film of 2014 ($333 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to Box Office Mojo), and it was released to DVD and Blu-ray on Dec. 9, it makes sense that it would be a natural choice for gift card redeemers. (Also helping matters: Guardians was discounted at multiple digital retailers during the tracking week.)
Hozier's self-titled set climbs 8-6 on the Billboard 200 with 60,000 units (down 31 percent). It also steps 19-12 on Top Album Sales with 25,000 sold (down 33 percent). Like Sheeran's x, Hozier is bolstered by TEA and SEA units (30,000 and 5,000, respectively).
J. Cole's former No. 1, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, slips 6-7 on the Billboard 200 with 59,000 units (down 51 percent). On Top Album Sales, it moves 4-6 with 47,000 copies (down 54 percent).
Walt Disney Records' Into the Woods soundtrack charges 19-8 with 57,000 units (up 9 percent). It tallies the only gain in the top 50 of the chart. The soundtrack's rise is spurred by the musical's successful theatrical release on Dec. 25. It has earned $92 million at the U.S. and Canada box office through Jan. 5. On the Top Album Sales chart, Into the Woods rises 14-3 with 51,000 copies sold (up 7 percent). On the pure album sales tally, Into the Woods logs the only sales gain in the top 40.
Back on the Billboard 200, One Direction's Four descends 4-9 (55,000 units; down 58 percent) and Ariana Grande's My Everything is steady at No. 10 (43,000 units; down 45 percent). Over on the Top Album Sales chart, Four shifts 5-8 with 33,000 copies sold (down 67 percent) while Grande's album is a non-mover at No. 26 (11,000 sold; down 65 percent). Among the top 10 titles on the Billboard 200, My Everything is the most obvious beneficiary of the chart's recently revised methodology (including TEA and SEA), ranking 16 spots higher on the multi-metric ranking compared to the pure sales tally. (Had the new math not been in place, My Everything would have ranked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200.)