Six albums debut in the top 10, including Kelly Clarkson’s “Meaning of Life” at No. 2.
Country king Kenny Chesney collects his eighth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his new live effort, Live in No Shoes Nation, starts atop the list with 219,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Nov. 2, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 217,000 were in traditional album sales. The album was released on Oct. 27 through Blue Chair/Columbia Nashville.
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 Nov. 18-dated chart (where Live in No Shoes Nation bows at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Chesney continues to have the second-most No. 1s among all country acts, trailing only Garth Brooks, who has nine. All eight of Chesney’s No. 1s have debuted in the penthouse, making him the country act with the most debuts at No. 1. (Seven of Brooks’ nine leaders started at No. 1.)
Live in No Shoes Nation is also the first live album to lead the chart in more than seven years. The last to do so was the various artists charity set Hope for Haiti Now, which spent at week at No. 1 on the Feb. 6, 2010-dated list. Live in No Shoes Nation is the first No. 1 live set by a single act since 2009, when Sugarland’s LIVE on the Inside topped the list (dated Aug. 22, 2009).
Chesney’s set also garners the largest sales week for a live album since 2002, when Paul McCartney’s Back in the U.S. Live 2002 bowed with 224,000 copies sold at No. 8 (Dec. 14, 2002-dated chart).
Chesney’s new album was powered almost entirely by traditional album sales, whose sum was generated largely by a concert ticket/album sale redemption promotion with Chesney’s 2018 stadium tour. The cost of the CD of Chesney’s album was bundled into the price of each ticket sold online for his tour (which went on sale Sept. 22). After purchasing a ticket, customers received (via email) a redemption offer for the album, where they could choose to redeem the CD and have it mailed to them. The only sales that count towards the charts are those albums that are redeemed by customers. Many ticket buyers never redeem the offer.
Nielsen Music does not detail how much of any album’s sales are generated by concert ticket/album bundle offers. However, CD sales from ticket bundles are generally categorized as internet sales by the company, and Live in No Shoes Nation’s internet sales figure is 197,000. So, it’s likely most of that number is from the ticket bundle — minus a small amount (perhaps in the low five-figures) — for traditional sales from Amazon and other web retailers.
As there over a million tickets available for Chesney’s stadium tour, and he regularly sells out his shows, it’s not surprising to see a robust sales figure driven by the offer.
Chesney previously led the Billboard 200 with Life on a Rock (in 2013), Hemingway’s Whiskey (2010), Lucky Old Sun (2008), The Road and the Radio (2005), Be as You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair (2005), When the Sun Goes Down (2004) and No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems (2002).
Live in No Shoes Nation is a 29-track album that collects live highlights from Chesney’s various tours, stretching back to 2007’s Flip Flop Summer Tour. Among the guests on the album: Taylor Swift, Dave Matthews, Grace Potter and Eric Church. Chesney’s last live album, 2006’s Live: Live Those Songs Again, peaked at No. 4 in its debut frame and sold 146,000 copies in its first week.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, pop diva Kelly Clarkson debuts with her new studio album, Meaning of Life. The set — her debut for Atlantic Records — earned 79,000 equivalent album units, of which 68,000 were in traditional album sales. Meaning of Life is Clarkson’s eighth top 10 album, and all of her top 10 efforts have reached the top three of the list. Her last album, Piece by Piece, debuted at No. 1 (marking her third leader) in 2015, earning 97,000 units (83,000 in traditional album sales).
Chris Brown’s Heartbreak on a Full Moon starts at No. 3 with 68,000 units (25,000 in traditional album sales), granting Brown his ninth total and consecutive top 10. The new 45-song double album was released in the middle of the chart’s tracking week, on Oct. 31, so it begins on the list with three full days of activity. (Most of the titles that debut on the new chart were released on Oct. 27, the first day of the tracking frame.)
At No. 4, 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin’s surprise collaborative album, Without Warning, debuts with 53,000 units (11,000 in traditional album sales). Like Brown’s album, it arrived on Oct. 31, and, true to its title, without (much) warning. The set was announced in the afternoon of Oct. 30. It’s the second top 10 for 21 Savage, following his debut studio set, Issa Album (No. 2), in July. Without Warning is the first top 10 for both Offset (as a soloist) and Metro Boomin. Offset is also a member of the rap trio Migos, which debuted at No. 1 in January with Culture.
Post Malone’s Stoney is the highest-ranking non-debut on the new Billboard 200, as it slips from its No. 4 peak to No. 5 with 41,000 units (down 7 percent).
Rapper Yo Gotti scores his third top 10 album, as I Still Am starts at No. 6 with 38,000 units (19,000 in traditional album sales). He previously hit the region with The Art of Hustle (No. 4 in 2016) and I Am (No. 7, 2013).
Big K.R.I.T. launches at No. 7 with his latest effort, 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time (33,000 units; 21,000 in traditional album sales). It’s the third top 10 set for the rapper, out of three charting titles. He previously reached the top 10 with Cadillactica (No. 5 in 2014) and Live From the Underground (No. 5, 2012).
Rounding out the new top 10: Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) (7-8 with 32,000 units; down 9 percent), Future and Young Thug’s Super Slimey (2-9 with 31,000 units; down 58 percent) and Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2 (9-10 with 30,000 units; down 9 percent).