Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande photographed Nov. 10 at Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles. 

Miller Mobley

Overall equivalent album units increased by 13%, total on-demand streams exceeded 507 billion & Grande’s “Thank U, Next” is year’s most popular album so far.

Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack lead Nielsen Music’s 2019 mid-year charts. (See lists, below.)

Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ is Tops: For the tracking period of Jan. 4 through June 20, 2019, Grande’s Thank U, Next ranked as the most popular album in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The set earned 1.55 million equivalent album units in that span. (See full top 10 chart, below.)

Equivalent album units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported on-demand audio streams generated by songs on an album, or 1,250 paid subscription on-demand audio streams generated by songs on an album. (For the sake of clarity, equivalent album units do not include listening to music on broadcast radio or digital radio broadcasts.)

Thank U, Next marked Grande’s fourth No. 1 on the weekly Billboard 200 albums chart, when it launched atop the list dated Feb. 23. The album bowed with 360,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week, which stands as the second-biggest week of the year for an album.

Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and Khalid’s Free Spirit place as the Nos. 2 and 3 biggest albums of 2019, so far, with 1.3 million and 929,000 units earned, respectively.

Two soundtracks dot the mid-year top 10, as A Star Is Born -- featuring the Oscar-winner for best original song "Shallow" -- is No. 4 (889,000) and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is No. 8 (705,000).

Equivalent Album Units Rose 13%: Overall equivalent album units thus far in 2019 increased by 12.7% percent when stacked next to the comparable time frame of 2018 (305.2 million units vs. 270.7 million units). (If one adds on-demand video SEA units into the mix, 2019’s mid-year sum equals 351.6 million units, up 15.7 percent compared to a year ago: 304 million.) (*see further explanation below)

‘Star’ Shines in Album Sales: The top selling album of 2019, so far, is the A Star Is Born soundtrack, with 404,000 copies sold. Rounding out the top three-selling albums of 2019 thus far are Jonas BrothersHappiness Begins (No. 2 with 374,000) and Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (343,000).

Overall album sales, across all formats (physical CDs, vinyl LPs, cassettes, etc., along with digital download albums) fell by 18.8% to 51.64. In the comparable tracking period of 2018 (Dec. 29, 2017 through June 14, 2018) album sales totaled 63.58 million albums.

Queen, The Beatles & Billie Eilish Rock Vinyl: While overall album sales are down 18.8%, sales of vinyl albums grew by 9.6% — rising from 7.04 million to 7.72 million.

The top-selling vinyl LP of 2019 thus far (see chart, below) is Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack with 61,000 copies sold. The band also has the second-biggest selling vinyl set of the year, as its Greatest Hits package has shifted 49,000.

Queen has sold more vinyl albums in 2019 than any other act, with 154,000 copies sold across the band’s entire catalog. The Nos. 2 and 3 biggest-selling vinyl LP acts in 2019 are two more veteran rock bands that have been releasing music for decades: The Beatles (128,000) and Pink Floyd (85,000).

The fourth-largest seller of vinyl LPs in 2019 is newcomer Billie Eilish, with 75,000 sold of her two albums: this year’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (47,000) and 2017’s Don’t Smile at Me (28,000). They rank at Nos. 4 and 10 on 2019’s top-selling vinyl albums chart (below), respectively.

Streaming Sizzles: Overall on-demand streams (audio and video combined) grew by 31.6% during the tracking period, as compared to the same span in 2018. Combined, on-demand audio and video streams totaled 507.66 billion so far in 2019, while in the comparable period of 2018, the sum was 385.75 billion streams.

Of the total mid-year 2019 streaming sum, on-demand audio streams comprised 333.47 billion (up 27.8% from 261.01 billion), while on-demand video streams equaled 174.19 billion (up 39.6% from 124.74 billion).

‘Road’ Rules: Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” is by far the most streamed song of 2019, so far, in terms of total on-demand audio and video streams combined, as well as solely audio or video streams. Powered largely by its remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, all of the versions of “Old Town Road” have combined to earn 1.338 billion on-demand streams. Of that sum, 596.11 million were in on-demand audio streams, and 741.88 million were in on-demand video streams.

“Old Town Road” is the only song to exceed a billion on-demand streams so far this year. The second-most streamed tune is Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse),” with 850.19 million streams.

A year ago at this point, Drake’s “God’s Plan” was the most-streamed song of 2018, with 1.082 billion clicks. Post Malone’s “Psycho,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, was runner-up with 531.62 million.

Nielsen Music's Mid-Year 2019 Charts:

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Albums (Based on Overall Equivalent Album Units**)
1. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next (1,552,800)
2. Billie Eilish, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (1,304,000)
3. Khalid, Free Spirit (929,000)
4. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (Soundtrack) (889,000)
5. A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Hoodie SZN (810,000)
6. Post Malone, beerbongs & bentleys (756,000)
7. Drake, Scorpion (718,000)
8. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (Soundtrack) (705,000)
9. Juice WRLD, Death Race for Love (675,000)
10. Jonas Brothers, Happiness Begins (663,000)

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Albums
1. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (Soundtrack) (404,000)
2. Jonas Brothers, Happiness Begins (374,000)
3. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (343,000)
4. BTS, Map of the Soul: Persona (343,000)
5. Backstreet Boys, DNA (299,000)
6. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (Soundtrack) (253,000)
7. Ariana Grande, Thank U, Next (228,000)
8. Soundtrack, The Greatest Showman (181,000)
9. P!nk, Hurts 2B Human (158,000)
10. Lauren Daigle, Look Up Child (154,000)

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Vinyl Albums
1. Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody (Soundtrack) (61,000)
2. Queen, Greatest Hits (49,000)
3. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (47,000)
4. Soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (33,000)
5. The Beatles, Abbey Road (33,000)
6. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (32,000)
7. Bob Marley & The Wailers, Legend
(30,000)
8. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
(29,000)
9. Michael Jackson, Thriller
(29,000)
10. Billie Eilish, Don’t Smile at Me
(28,000)

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs
1. Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road” (958,000)
2. Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, “Shallow” (684,000)
3. Post Malone & Swae Lee, “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)” (488,000)
4. Ariana Grande, “7 Rings” (420,000)
5. Halsey, “Without Me” (388,000)
6. Post Malone, “Wow.” (381,000)
7. Jonas Brothers, “Sucker” (357,000)
8. Lauren Daigle, “You Say” (322,000)
9. Taylor Swift featuring Brendon Urie, “Me!” (322,000)
10. Ava Max, “Sweet But Psycho” (321,000)

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Song Streams (Audio and Video Combined)
1. Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road” (1,337,995,000)
2. Post Malone & Swae Lee, “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)” (850,194,000)
3. Ariana Grande, “7 Rings” (776,696,000)
4. Travis Scott, “Sicko Mode” (623,498,000)
5. Halsey, “Without Me” (599,335,000)
6. J. Cole, “Middle Child” (582,748,000)
7. Post Malone, “Wow.” (582,633,000)
8. Blueface, “Thotiana” (588,277,000)
9. Marshmello & Bastille, “Happier” (528,640,000)
10. YNW Melly, “Murder On My Mind” (498,806,000)

2019’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Audio Streams
1. Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road” (596,113,000)
2. Post Malone & Swae Lee, “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)” (458,470,000)
3. Ariana Grande, “7 Rings” (433,904,000)
4. Post Malone, “Wow.” (416,231,000)
5. J. Cole, “Middle Child” (395,872,000)
6. Meek Mill featuring Drake, “Going Bad” (337,025,000)
7. Halsey, “Without Me” (319,879,000)
8. YNW Melly, “Murder On My Mind” (287,219,000)
9. Lil Baby & Gunna, “Drip Too Hard” (284,613,000)
10. Travis Scott, “Sicko Mode” (276,802,000)

Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period of Jan. 4 – June 20, 2019.
* On June 29, 2018, Billboard and Nielsen Music adapted different weighting for SEA units for paid on-demand audio streams (updating from 1,500 streams to 1 unit, to 1,250 streams to 1 unit) and ad-supported on-demand audio streams (updating from 1,500:1 to 3,750:1). Additionally, video streaming equivalencies updated from 1,500:1 to 3,750:1.

As such, for this story, last year’s overall volume consumption unit numbers were updated to reflect the current ratios, in order to present a proper comparison.

** Nielsen Music’s consumption unit totals for albums include SEA and TEA for an album's songs registered before the album's release, but during the tracking period. For example, Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next album unit total includes SEA and TEA for its title track and “7 Rings” for Jan. 4 through Feb. 7, 2019, before the album was released on Feb. 8.

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