Broadway’s Hamilton is making noise both on and off the stage. One of the buzziest musicals in years, the hip-hop-heavy look at Alexander Hamilton storms the charts as the cast recording debuts at No. 1 on Cast Albums, No. 3 on Rap Albums and No. 9 on Top Album Sales. The set also lands at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.
Hamilton‘s debut on the lattermost chart is the highest for a cast recording since the Billboard 200 combined its mono and stereo tallies in 1963. Before then, Billboard ran separate charts for mono and stereo albums, and there were a handful of cast sets that started higher. The original Broadway cast recording of Camelot earned the last higher debut in the pre-1963 era, at No. 4 on the Action Albums-Monophonic chart (Jan. 23, 1961); it eventually spent six weeks atop the Mono chart.
The Hamilton set, released Sept. 25 through Hamilton Uptown/Atlantic, debuts with 30,000 equivalent-album units earned in the week ending Oct. 1, according to Nielsen Music. The bulk of those units were 28,000 pure album sales — the second-biggest debut for a cast album since Nielsen Music began tracking data in 1991. Only the original Broadway cast recording of Rent racked up a larger bow, when it debuted at No. 19 on Sept. 14, 1996, selling 43,000.
Hamilton‘s sales start is mostly owed to its digital album, which arrived Sept. 25 in advance of its wide CD release on Oct. 16. The digital set accounted for 27,000 of its first week, while nearly 1,000 CDs were sold at the show’s venue, the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. (Why was Hamilton released in a staggered manner? Likely so that the album could meet the Sept. 30 cutoff for the 2016 Grammy Awards’ eligibility period.)
The musical, which is sold out through January 2016, also nets the highest rank for a cast album since July 2, 2011, when The Book of Mormon placed at No. 10. The previous week, Mormon re-entered the chart at its peak of No. 3, selling 61,000 copies in the week ending June 12 — the single-largest sales week for a cast album in the Nielsen era — thanks largely to the set being priced at $1.99 at the Amazon MP3 store. Also helping Mormon‘s sales that week: The show won nine Tony Awards, including best musical, on June 12. With the accolades Hamilton is receiving, look for its cast recording to receive a similar chart bump after the 2016 Tonys next June.