Drake's Surprise Album Heading for No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart
'If You're Reading This…' could sell 400,000 copies by Sunday night.
Industry forecasters expect the set -- which was released late in the evening on Feb. 12 through Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records -- to easily bow atop next week's Billboard 200. While it's still a bit early to get a proper projection on what it might sell through the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Feb. 15, sources have floated figures as high as 400,000. That would be the largest sales week for a rap album since November of 2013, when Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 bowed at No. 1 with 792,000 sold (according to Nielsen Music) in its first week.
Thus, If You're Reading This will block its fellow Republic Records release, the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, from No. 1. The latter, which bowed as planned on Feb. 10 and was on track to open atop the chart, could sell upwards of 160,000 copies (with its overall album equivalent figure aiming for 200,000).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Billboard 200's top 10 albums (for the week ending Feb. 15) will be revealed on Wednesday, Feb. 18.
If Drake tops the Billboard 200, it will mark his fourth consecutive leader on the list, and fourth to debut at No. 1. It would follow his first three chart-topping full-length studio albums: Thank Me Later (released in 2010), Take Care (2011) and Nothing Was the Same (2013).