'Descendants' Soundtrack Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart
(Editor's note: Nielsen Music revised its data on Aug. 9, after our initial story was posted. The unit totals for a few titles have since changed, as have the rankings of two albums in the top 10.)
The soundtrack to Disney Channel's Descendants debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, marking the fourth soundtrack to hit No. 1 in 2015. The set starts with 42,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Aug. 6.
It's the companion album to the TV movie of the same name, which premiered July 31 on the network.
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 Aug. 22-dated chart (where Descendants debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard's websites on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
The arrival of the Descendants album atop the chart came in a very soft week for both new album releases and sales. The soundtrack's overall 42,000 unit total is the smallest weekly sum for a No. 1 album since the chart began ranking titles by equivalent units in Dec. 2014.
Further, of its 42,000 start, just 30,000 were pure album sales. (It also enters at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart.) That's the lowest sales figure for a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, or Top Album Sales, since Nielsen Music began powering the charts' rankings in 1991. It falls below the previous low, when Amos Lee's Mission Bell debuted at No. 1 with just over 40,000 sold (week ending Jan. 30, 2011).
Descendants is a fairy tale-inspired live action film about the children of some of Disney's classic villains. The movie was directed and choreographed by Kenny Ortega (who also helmed the three High School Musical films).
The music-driven film earned 10.5 million total viewers in its first four days, according to Disney. That makes it the fourth biggest cable TV movie since 2007, behind three other Disney Channel films: High School Musical 2 (18.2 million), Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie (13.3 million) and Teen Beach Movie (11.9 million).
Descendants is the fourth soundtrack to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2015 (following Empire, Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2) -- the most to lead the list since 2009. That year, four soundtracks also topped the chart: Hannah Montana: The Movie, Fabolous' Loso's Way, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Michael Jackson's This Is It.
As for the rest of the Billboard 200's new top 10, Future's former No. 1 DS2 holds at No. 2 with 37,000 units (down 29 percent) and Taylor Swift's 1989 rises 4-3 with 35,000 (down 25 percent). Ed Sheeran's X climbs 6-4 with 30,000 (down 13 percent), Jill Scott's Woman slides 1-5 with just over 27,000 (down 56 percent) and Sam Hunt's Montevallo ascends 9-6 with 27,000 (down just 1 percent).
Lil Dicky's Professional Rapper is the second and final debut in the top 10, arriving at No. 7 with 26,000 units (of which 22,000 are pure album sales). The comedian/rapper's set was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, which also fuels its debut sales week.
In addition, Professional Rapper enters at No. 1 on the Comedy Albums chart with the largest sales week for a comedy album in just over a year. The last to sell more in a week was when "Weird Al" Yankovic's Mandatory Fun was in its second week at No. 1 (week ending July 27, 2014; chart dated Aug. 9) with 33,000 sold.
Twenty One Pilots' Blurryface zooms 20-8 with 25,000 units (up 45 percent). The rise is owed to the vinyl LP release of the set on July 31. The LP edition sold 7,000 copies for the week, aiding the album's overall 75 percent sales gain (to 17,000 copies), and enables its No. 1 debut on the Vinyl Albums chart.
Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door reenters the top 10 on the Billboard 200, jumping back on the list at No. 9 after it was reeisued on July 31. The album, first released in 1979, shifted 24,000 units for the week (23,000 from pure album sales). In Through the Out Door originally spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1979, and was last on the chart in 1980.
Closing out the new top 10 is Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which moves 13-10 with 23,000 (up 6 percent).