A New Sales Low for the Week's Top Selling-Album in the U.S.

Caitlin Cronenberg
Drake photographed in 2016.

Drake's "Scorpion" sold 29,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending July 12, the smallest sum for the week's top-selling album in the 27-year history of Nielsen Music.

While Drake’s Scorpion rules the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week (dated July 21), the set also claims a woeful distinction at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart.

With just a little over 29,000 copies sold in the week ending July 12, according to Nielsen Music, Scorpion logs the smallest sum for the week’s top-selling album since Nielsen began tracking data in 1991.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The Top Album Sales chart tallies the top selling albums of the week, based on only traditional album sales.

Helping play into Scorpion's small sales sum is how nearly all of its sales are only from digital downloads, as the set’s CD did not reach retail until July 13. (There are a handful of CDs among the 29,000 sum, as some retailers began selling the CD in advance of its official street date.)

Further, this is just the third time that the week’s top seller sold less than 30,000 copies. It also happened with the Jan. 28, 2017-dated charts, when the soundtrack to La La Land was tops (just under 30,000), and on the Aug. 22, 2015 list, when another soundtrack, to Disney Channel’s Descendants, led with a handful of copies under 30,000.

The July 6 release schedule (which impacted the July 21-dated charts) was light in terms of big releases, and even lighter when looking for titles that would generate decent sales figures. The highest-selling new album of the week was Meek Mill’s four-song EP, Legends of the Summer, which launches at No. 12 on the Top Album Sales chart with just 6,000 copies sold.

So far in 2018, through July 12, overall album sales stand at just 72.73 million -- down 17 percent compared to the same point a year ago. Further, CD album sales are off by 19 percent (to 35 million), while digital album sales are down 21 percent (to 29.44 million). On the bright side, vinyl album sales grew 19 percent to 8.07 million.


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