Drake's 'More Life' Bows at No. 1 on Billboard 200 & Sets Streaming Record
Plus: Rick Ross & Depeche Mode debut in the top 5.
The effort, which was released on March 18, earned 505,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 23, according to Nielsen Music. That’s the biggest week for any album since Drake’s own Views launched with 1.04 million units on the list dated May 21, 2016.
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 8, 2017-dated chart will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, March 28.
Of More Life’s starting sum, a record 257,000 units were driven by streaming equivalent album units, equating to 384.8 million streams of songs from the 22-track album during the tracking frame (each unit equals 1,500 streams of songs from the album).
More Life’s streaming sum beats the previous record holder of Drake’s Views, which launched with 163,000 streaming equivalent units (245.1 million song streams).
With 257,000 units of More Life’s debut sum comprised of SEA, the remaining amount was comprised of 23,000 TEA units and 225,000 in traditional album sales (all from digital downloads of the album, as it is so far initially commercially available only through digital retailers). The latter sum is the second-largest sales week of 2017, behind only the arrival of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide), which launched with 322,000 copies sold (it was available as both a digital and physical album). Drake’s last album release, Views, bowed with 852,000 copies sold (all from digital albums).
Drake’s More Life was released to all streaming and digital retail services on Saturday (March 18). Its streaming and commercial release was preceded that day by the project’s premiere on Drake’s OVO Sound radio program on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio at 3:30 p.m. PT. It will be released on CD on March 31, with a vinyl LP release to follow in the coming weeks.
More Life is Drake’s seventh consecutive album to debut at No. 1. Only his debut EP, So Far Gone, has missed the top slot, as it debuted and peaked at No. 6 back in 2009.
Drake’s seven No. 1s ties him with Kanye West and Eminem for the second-most No. 1s among hip-hop acts, trailing only Jay Z, with 13 leaders.Last week’s No. 1, Ed Sheeran’s ÷, falls to No. 2 after two weeks leading the list. ÷ earned 119,000 units in the latest tracking frame -- down 34 percent.
Rick Ross nabs his ninth top 10 album, as his new Rather You Than Me starts at No. 3 with 106,000 units (70,000 in traditional album sales). Ross’ last album, 2015’s Black Market, debuted and peaked at No. 6 with 65,000 units earned in its first week (and 54,000 in sales). Rather You Than Me logs Ross’ largest sales sum since Mastermind debuted at No. 1 in 2014 with 179,000 copies sold. All nine of Ross’ studio albums have debuted in the top 10. His hot streak began with the No. 1 arrival of Port of Miami in 2006.
The Beauty and the Beast soundtrack is pushed down one spot to No. 4, despite a 74 percent gain in units. The set earned 99,000 units in the week (up from its debut of 57,000 units), as the album profits from publicity generated by its parent film’s blockbuster opening in theaters on March 17. (The latest album tracking week ran from March 17 through March 23.) Beauty and the Beast sold 74,000 copies last week -- up 52 percent. That’s the largest sales week for a soundtrack since the Suicide Squad album bowed with 128,000 copies sold on the chart dated Aug. 27, 2016.
Depeche Mode clocks the third and final debut in the new Billboard 200’s top 10, as the band’s Spirit starts at No. 5 with 64,000 units (62,000 in traditional album sales). It’s the act’s eighth top 10 album and follows the No. 6 debut and peak of 2013’s Delta Machine (52,000 sold in its first week). The alt/dance vets last ranked higher in 2009 with Sounds of the Universe (No. 3). All eight of the group’s studio efforts dating back to 1990’s Violator have reached the top 10.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 on the new Billboard 200: Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic moves 4-6 with 51,000 units (down 6 percent), the soundtrack to Moana falls 5-7 with 50,000 units (down 4 percent), Future’s self-titled album dips 6-8 with 40,000 units (down 19 percent), The Weeknd’s Starboy descends 7-9 with 39,000 units (down 12 percent) and Migos’ Culture slides 8-10 with 37,000 units (down 12 percent).