On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Dec. 24), the-all star compilation set The Hamilton Mixtape debuted at No. 1 with 187,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Dec. 8, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 169,000 were in traditional album sales — the biggest sales week for a compilation album since 2012, when the GOOD Music Cruel Summer set bowed with 205,000 sold.
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:
— Pentatonix, A Pentatonix Christmas – No. 3 — Pentatonix’s A Pentatonix Christmas surpasses a half-million in U.S. sales, as the set sold another 115,000 copies in the week ending Dec. 8, bringing its cumulative total to 503,000. It’s the 12th album to sell 500,000 in 2016 (compared to 19 at the same point a year ago) and the second half-million seller for Pentatonix. The vocal group’s other half-million effort is another seasonal title, That’s Christmas to Me, which has sold 1.9 million since its release in 2014.
Speaking of That’s Christmas to Me, the set is pushed down 7-8 on the latest chart but is one of 57 holiday albums on the tally. Further, a full 33 out of the top 100 are Christmas sets. (Among them is another Pentatonix Christmas set: the 2012 PTXmas EP at No. 68.)
— The Weeknd, Starboy – No. 2 — The Weeknd’s album earned 151,000 units in the week ending Dec. 8 (down 57 percent) and is one of five albums to earn more than 100,000 units in the latest tracking week. It’s the first time each of the top five titles on the chart have earned 100,000 in a week since the Jan. 9-dated chart (which reflected the tracking week ending Dec. 24, 2015).
— Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Getaway – No. 27 — Following sales generated by a concert ticket/album purchase offer, the set vaults from No. 108 to No. 27 with 20,000 units (up 157 percent) and 19,000 sold (up 187 percent). The album has sold a total of 348,000 copies since its release in June.
— Kate Bush, Before the Dawn – No. 121 — The new live album is culled from Kate Bush’s return to the concert stage in 2014, where she played a sold-out 22-show run at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. They were her first live shows since 1979. The new live set grants Bush her first charting effort since 2011’s 50 Words for Snow reached No. 83 and spent two weeks on the list. In total, Bush has charted nine albums on the list, going as high as No. 28 with 1993’s The Red Shoes.
— Soundtrack, Hairspray Live! Original Soundtrack of the NBC Television Event – No. 178 — The companion album to the live TV staging of the musical enters with 6,000 units earned and 4,000 in traditional album sales. Hairspray was the fourth annual live musical that NBC staged on television, following The Wiz, Peter Pan and The Sound of Music.
But NBC isn’t the only network attempting live musicals. To compare, earlier in 2016, Fox’s Grease Live! bowed with 9,000 sold (and has sold 25,000 total). Before that, NBC’s previous live music production, The Wiz, launched with 6,000 sold back in December 2015 (19,000 sold to date). Peter Pan was a misfire, selling just 4,000 in total, after launching with 1,000 sold in its first week. The Sound of Music (bolstered by Carrie Underwood in its lead role) remains the biggest seller of the bunch, with 122,000 sold (38,000 in its first week!).