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Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ Album First-Week Forecast Grows

As earlier reported, Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next is surging towards a No. 1 debut on next week's Billboard 200 chart. Initially (on Feb. 10), industry forecasters suggested the album could bow with…

As earlier reported, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next is surging toward a No. 1 debut on next week’s Billboard 200 chart. Initially (on Feb. 10), industry forecasters suggested the album could bow with perhaps 280,000 to 300,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 14. Now, the album’s first-week forecast has jumped to 330,000 units.

If Thank U starts as expected, it will nab the largest week for any album since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V bowed at No. 1 on the Oct. 13, 2018-dated list with 480,000 units earned in its first week, according to Nielsen Music. Thank U would also score the biggest week for an album by a woman since Taylor Swift’s reputation blew in at No. 1 on the Dec. 2, 2017, chart with 1.2 million units.

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 Feb. 23-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Thank U could debut at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Feb. 17.


Sources say that Thank U will roll in to No. 1 with a robust SEA unit total, which could translate to perhaps 300 million on-demand audio streams for its songs in the U.S. If Thank U bows with a streaming sum that large, it will easily earn the biggest streaming week ever for an album by a woman, the largest streaming week for a pop album, and one of the top 10 biggest streaming weeks ever for an album of any genre.

Assuming Thank U opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, it will secure Grande her fourth No. 1 album, and second in less than six months, after Sweetener started at No. 1 on the Sept. 1, 2018-dated tally. The newly minted Grammy Award winner previously reigned with My Everything in 2014 and her debut album, Yours Truly, in 2013.

Next has so far produced two No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, Grande’s first leaders on the survey, both of which debuted on top: the title track (for seven weeks beginning in November) and “7 Rings” (which has led for its first three weeks). The video for the new LP’s latest single, “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” arrived Friday (Feb. 8), concurrent with the album’s release, and should soar onto next week’s Hot 100 (dated Feb. 23) after its first full week of tracking.