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— Soundtrack, Stranger Things, Volume One - No. 24 — The first soundtrack to Netflix’s buzzy Stranger Things TV series debuts on multiple charts, including the Billboard 200, where it bows at No. 24 (14,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Aug. 18, according to Nielsen Music).
The atmospheric score, composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, also starts at No. 13 on Top Album Sales (13,000 sold), No. 3 on Alternative Albums and No. 2 on Soundtracks (behind Suicide Squad). Stranger Things is currently exclusively available via Apple Music’s streaming services and the iTunes Store.
The arrival at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 is particularly high for a TV series outside of Disney Channel, Nickelodeon or one of the major broadcast networks (ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS, etc.) In general, only a handful of series from outside of those above-mentioned networks have gone as high as Stranger Things. Those include artist-driven sets like Foo Fighters’ Sonic HIghways (for HBO), The Robertsons’ Duck the Halls (tied to the act’s Duck Dynasty show for A&E), Dethklok’s Metalocalypse: Dethalbum III (from Metalocalypse for Cartoon Network), Flight of the Conchords’ I Told You I Was Freaky (for the act’s eponymous show for HBO).
A second Stranger Things album, Stranger Things, Volume Two, was released on Aug. 19 and is due to arrive on the Sept. 10-dated charts.
Another Netflix series, The Get Down, also arrives on the Bilboard 200. The compilation enters at No. 186 with 4,000 units.
— Eric Church, Mr. Misunderstood - No. 37 — The album is lifted (12,000 units; up 70 percent) by sales generated through Church’s official webstore (pure album sales rise by 177 percent) tied to promotion of his upcoming concert tour.
— Various Artists, The RCA-List - No. 44 — The streaming-exclusive album The RCA-List starts at No. 44, earning 12,000 equivalent album units — all from streams. The set follows another label-branded streaming-only compilation, Epic AF (which descends 49-64). Both albums highlight songs from their respective labels — many that don’t have a home on an artist’s album. For example, The RCA-List houses Snakehips’ “Cruel” and Betty Who’s “I Love You Always Forever,” and neither appear on an album by those acts.
— The Beatles, 1 - No. 113 — The best-of rises 173-113 (6,000 units; up 32 percent) after its inclusion in the iTunes Store’s “Greatest Hits: Pop” promotion. Other gainers featured include Journey’s Greatest Hits (92-73, up 18 percent) and Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (196-82, up 90 percent).
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— The Monkees, Good Times! - No. 164 — The Monkees’ Good Times! returns to the Billboard 200, following its release on 180 gram vinyl LP on Aug. 12 (4,000 units; up 347 percent). The album debuts at No. 1 on the Vinyl Albums chart with 4,000 LPs sold.
Elsewhere on the Vinyl Albums chart, Daryl Hall and John Oates’ The Very Best of Daryl Hall John Oates starts at No. 16 with 1,000 sold. The set also made its vinyl debut on Aug. 12 – and as a 2-LP set printed on grey and blue vinyl (mirroring the colors seeing on the album’s cover). The album, which was released in 2001, has sold 1.1 million copies in total.
Also on Vinyl Albums, Madonna’s 1994 release Bedtime Stories makes its vinyl debut (and on 180 gram vinyl), as the album enters at No. 19 with nearly 1,000 copies sold. It’s one of a number of Madonna albums getting the vinyl treatment in 2016. Like a Virgin and her self-titled debut were reissued in June. In July, a series of 180 gram vinyl releases followed: True Blue and Like a Prayer that month, Bedtime Stories and Erotica in August, and the best-of ballads collection Something to Remember is due on Sept. 13.