On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart, Taylor Swift’s 1989 returned to No. 1 (for a fourth non-consecutive week), while Pentatonix hit a new chart high, as the a cappella group’s That’s Christmas To Me stepped 3-2. The new chart was also the first compiled using a new multi-metric consumption methodology, adding together pure album sales with track equivalent album sales (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Of course, there was lots of action elsewhere on the chart outside the top two positions. Let’s take a closer look:
— Soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy (No. 17) – A cassette version of the album was released to Record Store Day-affiliated retailers for Black Friday (Nov. 28), and the retro configuration sold a little more than 1,000 copies in the week ending Nov. 30. That translated to 3 percent of the album’s sales for the week. (1,000 copies of something may not sound like a lot, but that’s a very significant number for an essentially dormant format of music.)
— Iggy Azalea, Reclassified (No. 27) – Azalea’s second album is a quasi-repackaging of her debut, The New Classic. However, as the new set (which starts with 34,000 equivalent units) only retains five songs from the original album and has a new title, it charts separately from the original (which ranks at No. 70).
— Beyonce, Beyonce (No. 39) – An expanded reissue of the album was combined for charting purposes with the original release, thus prompting its overall 825 percent total equivalent unit gain (and up 713 percent in album sales).
— Echosmith, Talking Dreams (No. 109) – Half of this album’s equivalent units are owed to TEA and SEA, thanks in large part to its hit single “Cool Kids.”
— Susan Boyle, Hope (No. 128) – The album (8,000 equivalent units) was effectively ignored on streaming services during the tracking week, and sold very few tracks. So, the album charts almost entirely (99.7 percent) from pure album sales. On the Top Album Sales chart — which ranks the top selling albums of the week — it sits at No. 99.
— Garth Brooks, The Ultimate Hits (No. 158) – As Brooks’ catalog of albums is absent from all streaming services, and all digital retailers for a la carte song purchases, The Ultimate Hits is charting from only album sales (7,000 for the week).
— Soundtrack, Elf (No. 175) – Big-selling theatrical film soundtracks that double as holiday albums are rare. Elf, with 695,000 copies sold, is the second-biggest of the genre since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991, behind only The Polar Express (724,000).
— Various Artists, Nashville Christmas (No. 195) – Compilation albums only earn units from TEA and SEA if the set’s songs are unavailable elsewhere. This title, which consists of all previously-released material, therefore doesn’t receive any TEA or SEA units.