Carrie Underwood Makes Country History on the Billboard 200 Chart As 'Cry Pretty' Debuts at No. 1
The set launches with the biggest week of the year for a woman, and the largest for a country album in more than three years.
Carrie Underwood lands her fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as Cry Pretty starts atop the list. The set, which was released on Sept. 14 via Capitol Nashville, bows with 266,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 20 according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 251,000 were in traditional album sales.
With the arrival at No. 1, Underwood makes country history: she's the first woman to bring four country albums to the top of the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 29-dated chart (where Cry Pretty debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Of Cry Pretty’s 266,000 units, most were in album sales: 251,000, as noted above. The remainder was comprised of SEA units (11,000) and TEA units (4,000).
First Woman to Take Four Country Albums to No. 1 on Billboard 200: Underwood is the first woman to hit the top of the Billboard 200 chart with four country albums: Cry Pretty, Blown Away (2012), Play On (2009) and Carnival Ride (2007). Previously, she was tied with Faith Hill, Linda Ronstadt and Taylor Swift with three leaders each. (Swift has had five No. 1s on the Billboard 200, but only three of them also charted on the Top Country Albums chart, as her two most recent leaders -- reputation and 1989 -- were pop efforts.) Among all acts, Garth Brooks has brought the most country albums to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with nine leaders in his career.
Biggest Week for a Country Album in More Than Three Years: Cry Pretty’s launch of 266,000 units is the biggest for any country album since Aug. 29, 2015, when Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights bowed at No. 1 with 345,000 units earned. Cry Pretty logs the biggest overall week for a country album by a woman since the charts began ranking albums by equivalent album units in late 2014.
2018’s Largest Week for a Woman: Cry Pretty’s debut frame of 266,000 units is the biggest week for any album by a woman in 2018, surpassing the previous high-water mark, set by Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, which launched at No. 1 with 255,000 units (April 21 chart). The last larger stanza for an album by a woman was racked up on the Dec. 2, 2017-dated list, when Taylor Swift’s reputation entered at No. 1 with 1.238 million units.
2018’s Biggest Sales Week for a Woman & Country Album: Cry Pretty clocks the largest sales frame for an album by a woman since Swift’s reputation bowed last year (1.216 million sold in its first week, Dec. 2, 2017). Further, Cry Pretty snags the biggest for a country album in more than three years, since Bryan’s Kill the Lights debuted with 320,000 copies sold.
Further, Cry Pretty nabs the largest sales week for a country album by a female artist since the Jan. 5, 2013-dated list, when Taylor Swift's Red sold 276,000 copies in its ninth week on the list.
Underwood supported the album’s first-week with interviews and performances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Sept. 13) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Sept. 19) as well as an interview on CBS’ Sunday Morning (Sept. 16).
Cry Pretty’s sizable first-week was supported by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, as well as sturdy sales via sellers like Target, Walmart, the iTunes Store and so forth.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Eminem’s former No. 1 Kamikaze is steady with 103,000 units (down 24 percent).
6LACK arrives at No. 3 with his second album, East Atlanta Love Letter. It notches the singer-rapper his first top 10 effort and highest charting set yet and bows with 77,000 units (20,000 in traditional album sales). The streaming-powered set (which garnered 56,000 SEA units, equaling 72.7 million on-demand audio streams for its tracks). 6LACK’s first release, FREE 6LACK, debuted at No. 68 on the Dec. 10, 2016-dated chart with 10,000 units, and eventually peaked at No. 34 on the May 13, 2017-dated list (14,000 units -- the set’s largest week).
Drake’s Scorpion steps 5-4 with 68,000 units (down 5 percent), Travis Scott’s Astroworld climbs 7-5 with 62,000 units (down 6 percent) and Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys ascends 8-6 with 47,000 units (down 2 percent). Ariana Grande’s Sweetener rebounds 10-7 with 38,000 units (down 13 percent), Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station slides 1-8 in its second week with 37,000 units (down 76 percent) and Nicki Minaj’s Queen rises 11-9 with 36,000 units (down 12 percent).
Juice WRLD’s Goodbye & Good Riddance closes out the new top 10, stepping 12-10 with just over 36,000 units (down 3 percent).