Plus: Scotty McCreery and The Decemberists bow in the top 10.
Singer/rapper XXXTentacion notches his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his second studio effort, ?, bows atop the list. The set, which was released on March 16 via his own Bad Vibes Forever label and distributed by Caroline, starts with 131,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 22, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 20,000 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 March 31-dated chart (where ? debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, March 27.
While ? garnered 20,000 in album sales, and 5,000 TEA units, streaming activity drove the album to No. 1. The title collected 106,000 SEA units, which equates to 159.4 million on-demand audio streams of tracks from the album during the set’s opening week (each SEA unit is equal to 1,500 on-demand audio streams). In fact, even without album sales or TEA units, ? would have still debuted at No. 1. The set logs the second-largest streaming week for an album in 2018, behind only the debut frame of Migos’ Culture II, with 150,000 SEA units (224.6 million on-demand audio streams).
XXXTentacion (real name: Jahseh Onfroy) made his Billboard chart debut a little more than a year ago with the single “Look at Me.” The song bowed on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart dated Feb. 18, 2017, on its way to a No. 18 peak on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in April. He’s since racked up numerous chart hits, and two earlier entries on the Billboard 200, including his No. 2-peaking debut studio effort, 17.
His chart success, however, has been concurrent with numerous controversies and legal issues. The 20-year-old artist is currently awaiting trial for aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering. The act is also facing 15 further felony counts relating to the case, and was under house arrest from late December through March 21.
XXXTentacion’s new album follows his previous effort, 17, which debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 dated Sept. 16, 2017. It launched with 87,000 units, of which 18,000 were in traditional album sales.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct roars 42-2 with 65,000 units (up 413 percent), of which 63,000 were in traditional album sales (up 480 percent). The former No. 1 set zooms back up the list following sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer for the next U.S./Canadian leg of the band’s WorldWired Tour.
Black Panther: The Album rises 4-3 with 53,000 units (down 15 percent), Logic’s Bobby Tarantino II slips 1-4 in its second week with 47,000 units (down 60 percent), Migos’ Culture II climbs 7-5 with 45,000 units (declining by just 1 percent) and the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman is steady at No. 6 with 41,000 units (down 14 percent).
Scotty McCreery collects his fifth top 10 album, as Seasons Change debuts at No. 7 with 40,000 units (34,000 of that sum is in traditional album sales). The new set is his first for the Thirty Tigers label, after having previously recordings for 19/Interscope/Mercury. The 2011 American Idol winner’s last studio set, See You Tonight, debuted and peaked at No. 6 on the list dated Nov. 2, 2013. He previously visited the top 10 with Christmas With Scotty McCreery (No. 4, 2012), his studio debut Clear Day (No. 1, 2011) and American Idol Season 10 Highlights: Scotty McCreery (No. 10, 2011).
Back on the new Billboard 200, Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) rises one spot to No. 8 with 31,000 units (down 6 percent). In the former No. 1 set’s 55 weeks on the list, it has yet to depart the top 20, going only as low as No. 16 (Sept. 30, 2017).
Rock band The Decemberists notch their third top 10 album as their eighth studio effort, I’ll Be Your Girl, bows at No. 9 with just over 30,000 units. Of that sum, 28,000 were in traditional album sales. The set is the group’s third consecutive studio set to bow in the top 10, following What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World (No. 7, 2015) and The King Is Dead (No. 1, 2011).
Both The Decemberists and Scotty McCreery saw their debut frames enhanced by sales from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, though at a much smaller level as compared to that of Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct promotion.
Closing out the top 10 is Post Malone’s Stoney, which is a non-mover at No. 10 with 30,000 units (down 7 percent).