The Weeknd blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with his new album, Starboy, earning 348,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Dec. 1, according to Nielsen Music. That’s the third-largest debut of 2016, behind only the arrivals of Drake’s Views (1.04 million units) and Beyonce’s Lemonade (653,000). Of the Weeknd’s overall start, 209,000 were in traditional album sales.
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 Dec. 17-dated chart (where The Weeknd bows at No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Starboy, the Weeknd's second Billboard 200 No. 1, was released on Nov. 25 through XO/Republic Records and is the follow-up to his first leader, Beauty Behind the Madness. The new set was initially released commercially as a download and through streaming services. Its CD release followed three days later on Nov. 28.
Starboy’s debut got a jolt from streaming equivalent album units, as a whopping 117,000 of its total unit sum were driven by streaming units (equaling 175.2 million streams of Starboy’s songs in the week). That’s the second-largest debut streaming week ever, following Drake’s Views, which clocked 163,000 streaming units in its opening frame (equating to 245.1 million streams of songs from the album that week).
Starboy is only the second album to surpass 100,000 streaming equivalent album units in a single week, following Drake’s set. Views actually did it three times: during its debut week, along with its third (124,000) and fourth (111,000) frames.
Previous to Starboy’s release and following its bow, the Weeknd offered some high-profile TV performances on Saturday Night Live (Oct. 1), the MTV Europe Music Awards (Nov. 6), the American Music Awards (Nov. 20), The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Nov. 24) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Nov. 28). He also sat down for interviews with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 (Nov. 24), The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 2) and The New York Times (Nov. 28). Meanwhile, the set's title-cut lead single has so far peaked at No. 2 (for five weeks) on the Billboard Hot 100 and led the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for six weeks.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas rises two spots with 131,000 units (up 29 percent). Last week’s No. 1 debut, Metallica’s Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, dips 1-3 with 75,000 units (down 74 percent) and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic slips 2-4 in its second week with 73,000 units (down 68 percent).
The Moana soundtrack vaults 16-5 with 66,000 units (up 153 percent), granting Walt Disney Records its highest charting album since the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack peaked at No. 5 for one week on the Jan. 9-dated list. Moana’s huge gain is owed to the film’s release in U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, two days before the chart’s latest tracking week began (on Nov. 25).
Another animated film soundtrack, Trolls, holds steady at No. 6 with 53,000 units (down one percent).
Two holiday albums jump back into the top 10, as Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me and Michael Buble’s Christmas return. The former rises 12-7 with 40,000 units (up 38 percent) and the latter vaults 19-8 with slightly less than 36,000 units (up 57 percent). As the two titles join Pentatonix’s latest holiday set at No. 2, there are three Christmas albums in the top 10 for the first time in nearly two years. It last happened on the Dec. 20, 2014-dated list, when That’s Christmas to Me ranked at No. 2, followed by Idina Menzel’s Holiday Wishes at No. 6 and Buble’s Christmas at No. 7.
Rounding out the new top 10 is Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings, which falls 3-9 with 36,000 units (down 73 percent) in its second week and the original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton, which dips one rung to No. 10 with 34,000 units (down 11 percent).