On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Oct. 21), Shania Twain earns her second No. 1 with Now, her first studio release in nearly 15 years. The set starts with 137,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Oct. 5, according to Nielsen Music, and of that sum, 134,000 were in traditional album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the latest Billboard 200 chart:
— Primus, The Desaturating Seven – No. 26 – The alternative rock act claims its 11th chart entry and sixth top 40 set with the No. 26 debut of The Desaturating Seven. The set begins with 16,000 units — nearly all from traditional album sales. The vinyl version of the album was a hot seller, as it sold a little more than 5,000 copies – which makes it the No. 1 title on the Vinyl Albums chart.
— Pearl Jam, Let’s Play Two: Live at Wrigley Field (Soundtrack) – No. 31 — The live album marks Pearl Jam’s 35th chart entry, and doubles as a soundtrack to the concert film Let’s Play Two. It starts with 14,000 units – nearly all from traditional album sales — and also debuted at No. 2 on the Soundtracks chart.
— Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Anthology: Through the Years – No. 32 — Following the death of Tom Petty on Oct. 2, five of his albums – including this compilation – returned to the chart. Anthology: Through the Years, hits a new peak, as it re-enters the list at No. 32 – surpassing its initial debut and peak of No. 132 back in 2000. Anthology is Petty’s 12th top 40-charting effort.
— Michael Jackson, Scream – No. 33 — Michael Jackson scores his 30th charting album and 16th top 40 set with the new compilation Scream. The set, which was released on Oct. 6 through MJJ/Epic/Legacy, debuts with 14,000 units – 11,000 from traditional album sales. The set’s Halloween-inspired tracklist “reflects The King of Pop’s affection for this time of the year,” according to a press release from Jackson’s record label, “and its themes of costumes and disguise, darkness and light, character transformations and surprise. It’s the perfect soundtrack for Halloween/October parties.” The tunes on the album include familiar hits like the title track (with sister Janet Jackson), “Thriller” and the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Dirty Diana.” It also features songs by The Jacksons like “Torture” and “This Place Hotel,” as well as Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” (which features Jackson’s background vocals).
— The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful – No. 59 — One week after Foo Fighters’ Concrete and Gold tumbled 1-17 after debuting atop the list, last week’s No. 1 debut, The Killers’ Wonderful Wonderful, falls 1-59 in its second week. So far in 2017, it’s the tenth album to debut at No. 1 and fall straight out of the top 10 in its second frame.
Wonderful Wonderful earned 10,000 units in its second week (down 92 percent) and sold 7,000 in traditional album sales (down 94 percent). It launched with 118,000 units, of which, 111,000 were in album sales.
Wonderful Wonderful also earns the distinction of having the second-largest positional fall from a No. 1 debut in the history of the chart. Only Brand New’s Science Fiction fell harder, when it dropped 1-97 (!) earlier in 2017.
Both Foo Fighters and The Killers saw their first-week sales aided by offers involving each group’s tours — which in turn accelerated the albums’ second week declines. (Notably, Brand New did not employ any sort of special album sale offer with its tour.)
For Foo Fighters, fans that pre-ordered the album got early access to purchase tickets. For The Killers, the band offered the album as part of a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with the act’s 2018 U.S. tour. (The purchase price of each ticket included the album, which is made available to customers who can choose to redeem the album and have it sent to them. The only sales that count towards the charts are those albums that are redeemed by customers.)
In both cases, those album sales plump up a debut week, but are not sustained in a title’s second week. So, albums that are boosted by such offers naturally see large sales erosions in their second weeks.