On next week’s Billboard 200 albums chart, a handful of titles are vying for No. 1, thanks to a particularly soft week on the list, according to industry forecasters. Those in the know suggest that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits, Lil Pum?p’s self-titled album and NF’s Perception are all in the hunt for No. 1 – and each could earn around 50,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Oct. 12.
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 new Oct. 28-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Petty, Lil Pump and NF are all aiming for No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Oct. 15.
Next week’s race for No. 1 is largely owed to how few major albums were released on Oct. 6 — following a month of A-listers parading in at No. 1 with 100,000-plus weeks. For the past four weeks, the No. 1 title has earned at least 110,000 units – including new albums from Shania Twain and Foo Fighters. (Many big albums were issued in September in order to qualify for the upcoming Grammy Awards, as Sept. 30 was the deadline for new releases to be considered for the 2017 eligibility year.)
If next week’s No. 1 only earns 50,000, it will mark the third-smallest sum atop the chart since it transitioned to a units-based ranking in late 2014.
Petty’s 1993 Greatest Hits set re-entered the chart dated Oct. 21 at No. 2 (reflecting the tracking week ending Oct. 5), following the legend’s death on Oct. 2. The set returned to the list at a new peak with 84,000 units (up 2,231 percent) according to Nielsen Music, of which 52,000 were in traditional album sales (up 3,407 percent).
In the new tracking week (ending Oct. 12), while Greatest Hits will see declines in both units and album sales, the latter sum will be buoyed a bit by the album’s CD stock getting replenished at retailers. When the set jumped back onto the chart at No. 2, its sales were mostly powered by digital albums: 44,000 downloads vs. a little more than 7,000 in CD sales.
If Greatest Hits climbs to No. 1, it will give Petty his second leader, following the 2014 studio effort Hypnotic Eye. It would also mark the first No. 1 by a greatest hits package since Prince’s The Very Best of Prince topped the chart dated May 7, 2016, following the pop icon’s death.
As for Lil Pump and NF’s new albums, both rappers are aiming to launch with around 50,000 units, and would score their first chart toppers.
Lil Pump’s self-titled debut set arrived Oct. 6 through Tha Lights Global/Warner Bros. Records, and was led by the hit single “Gucci Gang,” which currently ranks at No. 12 on the Hot Rap Songs chart (dated Oct. 21). A sizable sum of Lil Pump’s first-week unit sum will come from on-demand audio streams of the album’s songs.
NF’s Perception also dropped on Oct. 6 (via NF Real Music/Capitol Records/Caroline) and follows his 2016 set Therapy Session. The latter album debuted and peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 (29,000 units in its first week) and No. 1 on the Rap Albums chart.
Also on tap for next week’s Billboard 200 top 10: Kane Brown’s self-titled album could hit the top five for the first time (with around 45,000 units) following its deluxe reissue on Oct. 6 with a handful of bonus tracks. The set initially debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the Dec. 24, 2016-dated list. Plus: Marilyn Manson’s new Heaven Upside Down could debut in the top 10 with over 30,000 units.