Among women, Streisand outpaces Madonna, the runner-up with eight Billboard 200 No. 1s.
Encore was released on Aug. 26 through Columbia Records, and starts with 149,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 1, according to Nielsen Music. That’s a stronger-than-expected launch for the set, which was forecast by industry sources to start in the No. 2 slot, behind Florida Georgia Line’s new Dig Your Roots. The latter album enters in the runner-up position, with 145,000 units.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 17-dated chart (where Encore debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Wednesday, Sept. 7 (one day later than normal, due to the Sept. 5 Labor Day holiday in the U.S).
Encore follows Streisand’s previous No. 1 albums: Partners (2014), Love Is the Answer (2009), Higher Ground (1997), Back to Broadway (1993), The Broadway Album (1986), Guilty (1980), Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits, Volume 2 (1979), A Star Is Born (1977), The Way We Were (1974), and People (1964).
Barbra Streisand Scores Seventh U.K. No. 1 Album With 'Encore'
Further, Streisand surpasses her own record for the longest span between No. 1s on the Billboard 200. Encore arrives 51 years, 10 months and 17 days after her first No. 1, People, spent its initial week at No. 1 (Oct. 31, 1964). People ruled the tally for five consecutive weeks. Streisand previously set the record for the longest span between No. 1s when she topped the chart in 2014 with Partners -- 49 years, 11 months and 14 days after People.
One more fun fact: Streisand continues to be the only act to have achieved No. 1 albums in the last six decades -- the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.
Encore is an all-star collaborative affair, and pairs Streisand with a range of actors to cover songs from Broadway. For example, Anne Hathaway and Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) team up with Streisand for “At the Ballet,” from A Chorus Line; Jamie Foxx guests on “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” (from The Sound of Music) and Melissa McCarthy duets on “Anything You Can Do” (from Annie Get Your Gun).
Nearly all of Encore’s first-week unit total was comprised of traditional album sales -- 148,000. And of that figure, physical album sales (CDs and vinyl LPs) equated to 126,000 -- the largest sales week for a physical album in 2016. Previously, Blink-182’s California held the biggest physical week for an album this year, when it started with 107,000 sold.
Encore’s physical sales were bolstered by the availability of a deluxe edition of the set sold through Target, which came with four bonus solo Streisand performances.
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In addition, the album benefits from a promotion with Streisand’s recent concert tour, where tickets purchased online were bundled with an offer for a CD copy of Encore.
For ticket/album bundle offers where the purchase price of a ticket includes an album, only those albums that are actively redeemed by a customer count towards the charts. (The redemption rate is usually low for these offers, but can vary depending on the type of artist and how effectively they promote the ticket/album offer to their fans.)
Streisand is one of many acts that have employed a ticket/album bundle offer to sell music. Others include Kanye West (who sold The Life of Pablo with tickets to his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show), Justin Bieber, Duran Duran, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Michael Buble, Cyndi Lauper, Tom Petty, Bon Jovi and many more.
Streisand supported Encore by doing a number of big media appearances, including a sit-down chat and two performances on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Aug. 25. She was joined by one of her Encore partners, Alec Baldwin, on the show, and also did a humorous duet with Fallon (who impersonated Donald Trump). In addition, Streisand was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition (Aug. 20), CBS Sunday Morning (Aug. 28) and CNN (Aug. 29).