Chart Beat

Kenny Chesney Is Just Third Country Act to Rule Billboard Artist 100 in 2017

Kenny Chesney
Allister Ann

Kenny Chesney

He's also only the eighth country act to top the chart in its three-year history.

Kenny Chesney re-enters the Billboard Artist 100 chart (dated Nov. 18) at No. 1 to become the top musical act in the U.S. for the first time. He follows Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett as just the third country artist to lead the chart this year and the ninth ever to re-enter at the chart's summit.

The Artist 100, which launched in July 2014, measures artist activity across key metrics of music consumption, blending album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.

Chesney's return is powered by his new live album Live in No Shoes Nation, which opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 219,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music. The set is the third by a country act to top the Billboard 200 in 2017, following Rhett's Life Changes and Shania Twain's Now. (Only one album led the list in 2016: Jason Aldean's They Don't Know.)

Album sales account for nearly all of Chesney's Artist 100 points (96 percent).

Despite being the third country act to top the ranking this year, country stars, historically, have rarely hit No. 1 since the Artist 100's inception in 2014. Chesney is just the eighth of 54 total leading acts in that span:

Country Acts to Top the Billboard Artist 100
Artist, Chart Date(s) at No. 1
Kenny Chesney, Nov. 18, 2017
Thomas Rhett, Sept. 3, 2017
Chris Stapleton, May 27, 2017
Luke Bryan, Aug. 29, 2015
Zac Brown Band, May 16, 2015
Jason Aldean, Oct. 25, 2014 & Oct. 1, 2016
Florida Georgia Line, Nov. 1, 2014 & Sept. 17, 2016
Blake Shelton, Oct. 18, 2014

Further, Chesney is the ninth act to re-enter the Artist 100 at No. 1 and the fourth this year, following Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (Oct. 21), The Killers (Oct. 14), Foo Fighters (Oct. 7) and JAY-Z (July 29).

Rounding out the Artist 100's top five, Kelly Clarkson vaults from No. 60 to a new No. 2 high as her latest album Meaning of Life, arrives at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (79,000 units); Ed Sheeran holds at No. 3; Imagine Dragons are steady at No. 4; and Post Malone rises 6-5, as "Rockstar," featuring 21 Savage, tallies its fourth week atop the Billboard Hot 100.

Among other Artist 100 moves, Offset debuts at No. 85, as his surprise album with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin', Without Warning, debuts at No. 4 on the Billboard 20 (53,000 units). He's the second member of Migos to hit the Artist 100 solo, after Quavo, who reached No. 47 in August. Migos, as a trio, spent one week atop the ranking in February. The third and final member, Takeoff, has yet to debut on the chart.

Check out this week's full Artist 100 here.