Ed Sheeran's 'Divide' Spends Second Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200, 'Beauty and the Beast' Debuts at No. 3

Greg Williams
Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) holds on to the No. 1 slot for a second week on the Billboard 200 chart, as the set earned 180,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 16, according to Nielsen Music. That’s down 60 percent compared to its debut frame, when it launched atop the list with 451,000 units.

÷ sold 87,000 in traditional album sales in its second week -- down 73 percent compared to its starting sales stanza of 322,000.

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 April 1-dated chart (where ÷ is No. 1 for a second week) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, March 21.

Sheeran’s album is the first in six months to spend its first two weeks at No. 1 on the chart. The last to do so was the Suicide Squad soundtrack, which debuted atop the Aug. 27, 2016-dated list, and spent a second week at No. 1 the following frame, dated Sept. 3.

The last album by an artist to spend its first two weeks at No. 1 was Drake’s Views, back on May 21-28, 2016. (There have been albums that have spent multiple weeks in a row at No. 1 since then, just not their first two. Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas debuted at No. 3, and later climbed to No. 1 for two straight weeks. The Weeknd’s Starboy opened at No. 1 last December, fell out of the top position, and then later returned to No. 1 for four consecutive weeks in January.)

A step below Sheeran on the new Billboard 200 is Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, which holds at No. 2 with 102,000 units (up 25 percent) and 100,000 in traditional album sales (up 26 percent). The set continues to profit largely from a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with the act’s stadium tour that went on sale on Feb. 17. The tour starts on May 10 in Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium. Redemptions of Hardwired included with the purchase of a ticket register as a sale in the week the customer redeems/receives the album.

Sheeran and Metallica lead a fairly quiet top 10, where only one album debuts in the region: the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, at No. 3. The companion set to the live action remake of the 1991 animated Disney film starts with 57,000 units (48,000 in traditional album sales). The album, which boasts the vocal talents of its cast (including Emma Watson) and recording artists like Ariana Grande and Josh Groban, easily surpasses the No. 19 peak of the animated film’s soundtrack.

It bowed at No. 146 on the chart dated Dec. 7, 1991, and eventually peaked at No. 19 on the April 18, 1992-dated tally. The set spent 76 weeks on the list and has sold 2.3 million copies in the U.S. It also housed a top 10-charting Billboard Hot 100 hit in its title track, as performed by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson (No. 9, 1992). The new album features a redux of the song, this time by Grande and John Legend.

Bruno Mars24K Magic falls one rung on the Billboard 200 to No. 4 with 54,000 units (down 17 percent), while the Moana soundtrack climbs three spots to No. 5 with 52,000 units (up 32 percent). The album benefits from promotion related to the film’s home video release on Blu-ray, DVD and digital HD on March 7.

Future’s self-titled album dips from No. 4 to No. 6 with 50,000 units (down 4 percent), The Weeknd’s Starboy is steady at No. 7 with 44,000 units (up 4 percent) and MigosCulture falls 6-8 with 42,000 units (down 4 percent).

Future’s HNDRXX descends 5-9 with 39,000 units (down 21 percent) and the Trolls soundtrack closes out the top 10 with 32,000 units (down 12 percent).