Ariana Grande earns her third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as her fourth full-length studio effort, Sweetener, enters atop the tally. The set, which was released on Aug. 17 via Republic Records, starts with 231,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Aug. 23, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 127,000 are from traditional album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 1-dated chart (where Sweetener launches at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s websites on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Grande’s Third No. 1: Sweetener is Grande’s third leader on the Billboard 200, following the chart-topping debuts of her second album, My Everything (Sept. 13, 2014), and her debut effort, Yours Truly (Sept. 21, 2013). Of her four full-length studio sets, only her third release, Dangerous Woman, missed the top. It debuted and peaked at No. 2 on June 11, 2016 (stuck behind Grande’s labelmate, Drake, with his blockbuster album Views, which was in its fourth of 14 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1).
‘Sweetener’ Surpasses ‘Dangerous’: With Sweetener’s start of 231,000 units, it beats the bow of Grande’s last album, Dangerous Woman. The latter entered the chart at No. 2 with 175,000 units.
Second Biggest Week of 2018 for a Woman: Sweetener secures the second-largest week for an album by a woman in 2018. Only Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy launched with a larger figure: 255,000 units (No. 1, April 21-dated chart). Thus, Sweetener also has the biggest week for a pop album by a woman. Speaking of pop albums by women…
Largest Streaming Week Ever for a Pop Album by a Woman: Sweetener’s songs collected 126.7 million on-demand audio streams in its debut frame — the largest streaming week for a pop album by a woman. It’s also the biggest streaming week for any non-hip-hop effort by a woman. Sweetener is the rare pop album that performed strongly on streaming services — generally rap albums post big streaming numbers in comparison to other genres.
Of the 41 instances where there was an album that collected more than 125 million streams in a single week, only four were not rap titles. Aside from Sweetener, there were also the debut frames of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) (134.6 million), The Weeknd’s My Dear Melancholy (140.8 million), and The Weeknd’s Starboy (175.2 million).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Travis Scott’s Astroworld slips to the runner-up slot after spending its first two weeks at No. 1. The album earned 110,000 units in the latest tracking week, down 46 percent.
Nicki Minaj’s Queen moves 2-3 in its second week, with 95,000 units (down 49 percent).
Drake’s Scorpion moves 3-4 (93,000 units; down 9 percent) while Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys is steady at No. 5 (57,000 units; up 2 percent).
Aretha Franklin’s 30 Greatest Hits climbs 7-6, granting the diva her highest-charting album in 50 years. 30 Greatest Hits ascends with 52,000 units earned in the tracking week (up 49 percent), with 18,000 of that sum coming from traditional album sales (up 47 percent).
30 Greatest Hits is Franklin’s highest charting album since the Aug. 31, 1968-dated list, when Aretha Now was at No. 4, after previously peaking at No. 3 (Aug. 17 and 24).
30 Greatest Hits rises after the set experiences its first full chart week of activity following Franklin’s death on Aug. 16. A week ago, the album re-entered the list at No. 7, effectively from one day of impact after her passing (as the chart’s tracking week ended on Aug. 16).
One step below Franklin on the new chart is Cole Swindell’s All of It, which debuts at No. 7 with 50,000 units (39,000 in traditional album sales). It’s the country singer’s third top 10 effort, following You Should Be Here (No. 6; May 28, 2016) and his self-titled debut (No. 3; March 8, 2014).
The various artists compilation Young Stoner Life: Slime Language, debuts at No. 8 with 41,000 units, mostly derived from streaming activity (38,000 of its units are streaming equivalent album units). It’s the second compilation to reach the top 10 in 2018, following the Now 65 compilation, which debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the Feb. 17-dated list.