Ariana Grande is on track for her third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, according to industry forecasters. Those in the know suggest her fourth studio effort, Sweetener, could bow atop the tally next week with over 200,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Aug. 23. The set was released on Aug. 17 via Republic Records.
Grande previously led the list with her debut set Yours Truly, in 2013, and its follow-up, My Everything, in 2014. Her third studio release, Dangerous Woman, debuted and peaked at No. 2 in 2016.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the Sept. 1-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Sweetener may bow at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Aug. 26.
Could anything block Sweetener from a No. 1 debut? Perhaps Travis Scott’s current leader, Astroworld, will hold tight at No. 1 for a third week? That it seems unlikely, as it earned 205,000 units in the week ending Aug. 16, according to Nielsen Music — down 62 percent from its opening frame of 537,000 units. Thus, for Astroworld to hold at No. 1, it would have to gain in its third week, which would be quite unusual.
Then there is the late Aretha Franklin, whose 30 Greatest Hits re-entered the Aug. 25-dated chart at No. 7 — and only from one day’s worth of reaction to her death on Aug. 16. (The tracking week for the Aug. 25 chart ended on the 16th.) While Hits probably won’t pose a threat for No. 1, the album could hold on to a rank in the top 10 for a second stanza.
If Grande’s Sweetener starts at No. 1, it will grant her label, Republic Records, its fourth chart-topper of the year. It would follow Drake’s Scorpion (released on Young Money/Cash Money/Republic), Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys (Republic) and The Weeknd’s My Dear Melancholy (XO/Republic).