Chart Beat

Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Prince Earns 28th Top 40 Album, Madonna's 'Like a Virgin' Returns After 28 Years

Prince photographed in 2013.
Courtesy Photo

Prince photographed in 2013.

On the most recent Billboard 200 albums chart (dated May 21), Drake earned his sixth consecutive No. 1 album with Views, scoring a record streaming week in the process. Following Drake in the top five is Beyonce's Lemonade (last week's No. 1), Prince's Purple Rain and The Very Best of Prince, and Rihanna's Anti. Thus, for a second straight week, the entire top five are R&B/hip-hop albums. That's the first time we've had back-to-back weeks with all R&B/hip-hop albums in the top five since the July 10-17, 2004-dated charts. (And, last week's all R&B/hip-hop top five was the first time the entire region was locked up by the genre since the Oct. 24, 2015-dated list.) 

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the latest Billboard 200 chart:

Various Artists, Now 58 - No. 7 — The Now That’s What I Call Music series continues its incredibly sturdy run on the chart, as the 58th numbered volume debuts at No. 7 with 37,000 units (all from pure album sales). All 58 of the numbered titles in the main Now line have reached the top 10, and all but the very first release have debuted in the top 10. In less outstanding news, Now 58’s launch of 37,000 copies sold is the smallest debut sales week for any of the numbered Now albums.

Panic! at the Disco, Death of a Bachelor - No. 17 — The album zooms from No. 34 to No. 17 following its temporary 99-cent sale price offer in the Google Play store. On the Digital Albums chart, the set re-enters at No. 6 with 12,000 downloads sold (up 183 percent), with most of its 8,000 gain likely owed to Google Play. In terms of overall units on the Billboard 200 chart, it jumps from 14,000 to 22,000 (up 54 percent).

Madonna, Like a Virgin - No. 124 — Madonna’s classic album, Like a Virgin, returns to the chart “for the very first time” since 1987. Like Panic! at the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor, Like a Virgin was also sale priced for just 99 cents during the tracking week in the Google Play store. Consumers snapped up the set, yielding 5,000 in digital sales (up 1,028 percent – a gain from less than 1,000 sold the previous week) of its total 6,000 sales for the week (up 888 percent). Its 6,000 units total (nearly all from pure album sales) were up 835 percent. Thanks to Google, Like a Virgin scores its best sales week since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991, and its first week on the Billboard 200 chart since Sept. 19, 1987. The effort was Madonna’s second studio album, and first No. 1, spending three weeks atop the chart in 1985.

Soundtrack, Empire: Original Soundtrack Season 2, Volume 2 - No. 26 — The sixth soundtrack from the Fox TV series debuts at No. 26 with 18,000 units (13,000 from traditional album sales). The Original Soundtrack Season 2, Volume 1 album entered at No. 16 in December, 2015 with 30,000 units (22,000 copies sold). Previously, the Original Soundtrack From Season 1 debuted at No. 1 on the March 28, 2015-dated chart with 130,000 units (110,000 copies sold), and before that, three EPs from the series reached the list.

Grateful Dead, Dave’s Picks Volume 18: Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, CA 7/17/76 - No. 38 — The band scores its 13th top 40-charting album since 2012 with the debut of Dave’s Picks Volume 18: Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, CA 7/17/76 at No. 38. The archival set bows with 15,000 units (all from pure album sales). The Dave’s Picks from-the-vaults live concert album series has been consistently popular since its first installment in 2012, as all but five of the 18 titles have charted on the Billboard 200. (Dave’s Picks is named for its curator, David Lemieux, who is the audiovisual archivist for the Grateful Dead.)

Prince, HITNRUN: Phase Two - No. 40 — The album vaults from No. 116 to No. 40, giving the late Prince his 28th top 40-charting set. (The album moved 14,000 units -- up 116 percent -- nearly all from traditional album sales. The surge was largely owed to the set's wide commercial debut on CD. It previously had limited availability on CD, and was sold as a digital album.) In the wake of Prince’s death on April 21, five of his albums have since reached new peaks on the chart: The Very Best of Prince (No. 1 on the May 7-dated chart), Ultimate (No. 6, May 14), The Hits/The B-Sides (No. 4, May 14), 1999 (No. 7, May 14) and HITNRUN: Phase Two (No. 40, May 21).

Various Artists, Now That’s What I Call Broadway - No. 121 — As the Now series notches another top 10 hit with Now 58 (No. 7), another genre-specific collection from the series debuts at No. 121: Now That’s What I Call Broadway. It’s the first showtunes specific compilation in the Now franchise, and earned 6,000 units for the week (all from pure album sales). Over on the Compilation Albums chart, it starts at No. 3. The set features selections from the cast recordings of shows like Rent, Chicago, Wicked, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera. (Notably absent from the album is the buzziest show on Broadway: Hamilton.)