On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart, Taylor Swift’s 1989 held firm at No. 1 for a fifth non-consecutive week, while AC/DC’s Rock or Bust debuted at No. 3. One more album arrived in the top 10: Mary J. Blige’s The London Sessions, which launched at No. 9.
As reported previously, the Billboard 200 chart now measures multi-metric album consumption, including pure album sales. The ranking combines on-demand streaming and digital track sales in addition to traditional album sales, all measured by Nielsen Music. On the latest Billboard 200, 81.4 percent of its total album equivalent units (adding up the weekly unit totals of Nos. 1 through 200) are pure album sales. The rest of its units are track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Of course, there was lots of chart action elsewhere on the chart. Let’s take a closer look:
— Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon – No. 13 — Thanks to ultra-cheap pricing in the Google Play store (where the classic set was discounted to 99-cents in the tracking week ending Dec. 7), the album zooms back onto the chart at No. 13. It moved just over 38,000 album equivalent units last week, comprised mostly of pure album sales (nearly 38,000; up 940 percent). That’s the album’s highest rank since the Oct. 15, 2011-dated chart, when it re-entered at No. 12 following a new deluxe reissue. With 889 weeks on the chart, it continues to rule as the album with most charted weeks in the history of the tally. The next-closest album, in terms of longevity, is Johnny Mathis’ Johnny’s Greatest Hits, with 490 weeks.
— Michael W. Smith, Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas – No. 16 — The veteran singer earns his 12th top 40 album as this holiday effort zooms 66-16 in its tenth week on the list. The album shifted 37,000 album units for the week (up 147 percent), powered mostly by 36,000 in pure album sales (up 143 percent). The album returns to No. 1 on Christian Albums, and rises 9-4 on Top Holiday Albums (where it debuted at No. 1 on the list dated Oct. 25).
— Seth MacFarlane, Holiday For Swing! – No. 51 — The creator of Family Guy sees his second album take a bow at No. 51 with 16,000 units (up 197 percent). It sold nearly 15,000 copies for the week (up 197 percent as well). The holiday effort also rises 3-2 on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart and the Top Jazz Albums chart. MacFarlane previously visited all three lists with his debut effort, Music Is Better Than Words, which reached No. 111 on the Billboard 200 in 2011, and No. 2 on both jazz tallies.
— Bing Crosby, White Christmas – No. 94 — The album houses Crosby’s evergreen holiday tune, “White Christmas,” which was initially released as a single in 1942. It sailed to No. 1 on Billboard’s Best Selling Retail Records chart on Oct. 31, 1942 and spent 11 consecutive weeks atop the list. It returned to the top 10 in every subsequent holiday season through 1949. The song continues to endure, and is a staple of holiday-time radio programming. It topped the Holiday Airplay chart in 2008 and was the ninth most-played Christmas tune during the 2013 holiday season.
— Various Artists, The Essential Now That’s What I Call Christmas – No. 137 — The long-running Now That’s What I Call Music series has spun off eight successful Christmas collections which have sold a combined 7.8 million in the U.S.
— ‘N Sync, Home for Christmas – No. 196 — The boy band’s only holiday album makes its annual return to the Billboard 200, re-entering at No. 196. The set was released in 1998 and peaked at No. 7 on the chart. It has sold 2.8 million copies in the U.S., and is the 15th-biggest selling holiday album since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991.