Meek Mill bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart dated July 18, which will post in full to Billboard’s website on Thursday, July 9. It is the final Billboard 200 chart utilizing sales data from a Monday to Sunday tracking cycle, due to the music industry shifting to a global release date for new albums (Fridays, beginning on July 10). Going forward, Nielsen Music will alter its sales tracking week to a Friday to Thursday cycle. The first Billboard 200 chart impacted by this shift will see its top 10 revealed in a news story on Saturday, July 11, followed by a full posting of the chart on Tuesday, July 14. (Read this story for further information about the changes.)
Dreams Worth More Than Money is Meek Mill’s second studio album, and also tallies his largest sales week: 215,000 in traditional album sales. It surpasses the opening week of his first album, Dreams and Nightmares, which launched with 165,000 in 2012.
Further, Meek Mill’s new set garners the fourth largest sales frame for an album in 2015, following the debuts of Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (495,000), Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly (324,000) and Mumford & Sons’ Wilder Mind (231,000).
Meek Mill is the fifth act in a row to earn their first No. 1 album. He follows Breaking Benjamin (with Dark Before Dawn), James Taylor (Before This World), Muse (Drones) and Florence + the Machine (How Big How Blue How Beautiful).
The top slot hasn’t had this many successive newly-crowned No. 1 acts in 14 years. Back in July of 2001, Alicia Keys was the sixth act in a row to score their first No. 1. Her Songs In A Minor opened atop the chart dated July 14. It was preceded by the first leaders for D12 (Devil’s Night), Blink-182 (Take Off Your Pants and Jacket), Staind (Break the Cycle), Tool (Lateralus) and Destiny’s Child (Survivor).
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Back on the new Billboard 200, last week’s No. 1, Breaking Benjamin’s Dark Before Dawn, slips to No. 6 with 31,000 units (down 78 percent).
Miguel’s third album Wildheart starts in the runner-up slot (with 48,000 units, of which 41,000 are traditional album sales), giving the singer his highest-charting set yet. His previous album, 2012’s Kaleidoscope Dream, debuted and peaked at No. 3 (with 71,000 in pure sales), while his 2010 debut All I Want Is You topped out at No. 37 the following year.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 rises one position to No. 3 with 48,000 units (down 11 percent) while Ed Sheeran’s x climbs 7-4 with 39,000 (up 10 percent). James Taylor’s Before This World is steady at No. 5 with 33,000 (down 34 percent).
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Rock act X Ambassadors arrives at No. 7 with its debut full-length album VHS, starting with 30,000 units. (25,000 of that sum is traditional album sales.) The set was led by the hit single “Renegades,” which has spent the past four weeks locked at No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart. On the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart dated July 11, the song rose to a new peak, climbing 74-65.
Sam Hunt’s Montevallo holds steady at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with 29,000 units.
Rock band August Burns Red claims its second top 10 album, as Found In Far Away Places opens at No. 9 with 29,000 units (essentially all from album sales -- the best sales frame ever for the band). The group had previously visited the top 10 with 2013’s Rescue & Restore (26,000 sold in its first week), while the act’s largest sales week had been when 2011’s Leveler bowed at No. 11 with just a few units less than the opening of Found In Far Away Places.
Over on the Top Christian Albums chart, August Burns Red secures its fourth chart-topper with Found In Far Away Places, following Leveler, Constellations (in 2009), and The Messenger (2007).
Closing out the new Billboard 200’s top 10 is the soundtrack to the film Magic Mike XXL, which dances in at No. 10 with 26,000 units (25,000 from pure album sales). The set -- filled with bump-n-grind tunes featured in the sequel to the stripper drama Magic Mike -- easily trumps the peak position of the first Magic Mike soundtrack, which topped out at No. 167 on the July 21, 2012-dated tally. Magic Mike XXL also debuts at No. 1 on the Soundtracks chart.