Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart With Biggest Streaming Week Ever for a Pop Album
Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next storms in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 360,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 14, according to Nielsen Music. The set launches with the biggest week for a pop album in over a year and garners Grande her fourth No. 1 -- and second in less than six months. Of Thank U, Next’s starting unit sum, 116,000 were in album sales.
Thank U, Next, released on Feb. 8 through Republic Records, is Grande’s fourth Billboard 200 No. 1. It also launches with the biggest streaming week ever for a pop album.
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 Feb. 23-dated chart (where Thank U, Next debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Wednesday, Feb. 20 (a day later than usual, owed to the U.S. Washington’s birthday holiday, often referred to as Presidents’ Day, on Feb. 18).
Grande’s Fourth No. 1 Album: It follows Sweetener (which debuted atop the list dated Sept. 1, 2018), My Everything (Sept. 13, 2014) and Yours Truly (Sept. 21, 2013). Grande ties Taylor Swift for the second-most No. 1s among women this decade, trailing Lady Gaga, with five leaders since 2010.
Two No. 1s in Less Than Six Months: Thank U, Next opens at No. 1 less than six months after Grande last topped the chart, with Sweetener, on the Sept. 1, 2018-dated chart. That span of five months and 22 days is the shortest gap between new No. 1s on the Billboard 200 for a woman since 1974-75, when Olivia Newton-John waited just five months and three days between the first weeks at No. 1 for If You Love Me Let Me Know (Oct. 12, 1974) and Have You Never Been Mellow (March 15, 1975). Both titles spent one week at No. 1.
Grande’s accumulation of her two latest No. 1s is the fastest since K-pop group BTS notched its first two No. 1s in a little over three months just last year (Love Yourself: Tear on June 2, 2018 and Love Yourself: Answer on Sept. 8, 2018). In 2017, rapper Future nabbed an unprecedented pair of back-to-back new No. 1s in successive weeks (with his self-titled album March 11 and HNDRXX on March 18).
Biggest Week for a Pop Album in Over a Year: As Thank U, Next starts with 360,000 units, the set earns the biggest week for a pop album in over a year. The last pop set to tally a larger week was Swift’s Reputation, which began at No. 1 on the chart dated Dec. 2, 2017 with 1.24 million units earned. Thank U, Next also scores the biggest week for an album by a woman since reputation.
Thank U, Next has the largest week of any album since Oct. 13, 2018, when Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V bowed at No. 1 with 480,000 units.
Largest Streaming Week for a Pop Album & Any Album by a Woman: Of Thank U, Next’s starting unit sum of 360,000 units, 228,000 are in SEA units. That latter sum translates to a whopping 307 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s songs during the tracking week. That’s a remarkable sum considering most-heavily-streamed albums are hip-hop sets. (Of the top 20 largest-streaming weeks ever for an album, Thank U, Next is the only non-hip-hop title.)
Thank U, Next easily sets the record for the largest streaming week for a pop album (beating the debut frame of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ [Divide] with 126.7 million on-demand audio streams for its songs; March 25, 2017) and the biggest streaming week for an album by a woman (surpassing the debut week of Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy with 202.6 million; April 21, 2018).
Thank U, Next has the ninth-largest streaming week for an album overall, and the eighth-biggest debut week. Drake’s Scorpion remains the streaming record-holder among all albums, with 745.9 million on-demand audio streams registered for its songs in its debut week (July 14, 2018). (Scorpion actually has two of the top nine biggest weeks, as the album’s second-week streaming sum is the fourth-largest overall, with 391 million.).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack steps 5-2 with 49,000 units (up 31 percent). The set is basking in the glow of Gaga’s performance of the album’s “Shallow” on the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards, where the song also won a pair of trophies (including one presented during the CBS broadcast: best pop duo/group performance).
Another soundtrack, Bohemian Rhapsody, rebounds to its peak position on the Billboard 200, as it zooms from No. 11 to No. 3 with 48,000 units (up 84 percent). The album’s parent film of the same name was released on DVD and blu-ray on Feb. 12, thus stirring interest in the movie’s soundtrack with consumers. (The movie was already available on digital home video.)
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s Hoodie SZN falls to No. 4 on the new Billboard 200 after three nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 with 43,000 units (down 7 percent), Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys rises 6-5 with 39,000 units (up 10 percent), Travis Scott’s Astroworld descends 4-6 with 37,000 units (down 3 percent), 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was tumbles 2-7 with nearly 37,000 units (down 8 percent) and Drake’s Scorpion is steady at No. 8 with 35,000 units (up 4 percent).
Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour rides its pair of Grammy Award wins on Feb. 10 to a return to the top 10, as the set re-enters the chart straight in at No. 9 with 35,000 units (up 524 percent). Of that sum, 20,000 were in album sales -- a gain of 735 percent.
Golden Hour won Grammy Awards for album of the year and best country album, while its songs “Butterflies” and “Space Cowboy” also took home trophies, for best country solo performance and best country song, respectively. Musgraves performed the album’s “Rainbow” on the Grammy Awards broadcast and also took part in an all-star tribute performance to Dolly Parton. (“Rainbow” is now being promoted as Musgraves latest single at country, adult pop and adult contemporary radio stations.) Golden Hour debuted and peaked at No. 4 last April.
Closing out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 is Meek Mill’s Championships, which falls 7-10 with 34,000 units (down 2 percent).