Carrie Underwood vaults from No. 61 to No. 1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart (dated Sept. 29) to become the top musical act in the U.S. for the first time, as well as the first female country artist ever to top the tally. The jump is powered by her new album Cry Pretty, which launches at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 266,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music.
The Artist 100, which launched in July 2014, measures artist activity across key metrics of music consumption, blending album and track sales, radio airplay, streaming and social media fan interaction to provide a weekly multi-dimensional ranking of artist popularity.
Cry Pretty marks the biggest week of 2018 for an album by a solo female, while Underwood becomes the first woman to have sent four country albums to No. 1 in the Billboard 200’s history.
Underwood, who previously peaked at No. 3 on the Artist 100 in November 2015, becomes the first female country artist ever to rule the Artist 100 in its four-year history. (Notably, Taylor Swift has spent a record 36 weeks at No. 1 on the chart, but only since her segue from country to pop on her 2014 album 1989.)
Underwood is the second country act to lead the Artist 100 in 2018, following Jason Aldean on April 28, after three country artists ruled the chart in 2017: Chris Stapleton, Thomas Rhett and Kenny Chesney.
Country Acts to Top the Billboard Artist 100
Artist, Chart Date(s) at No. 1
Carrie Underwood, Sept. 29, 2018
Kenny Chesney, Nov. 18, 2017
Thomas Rhett, Sept. 3, 2017
Chris Stapleton, May 27, 2017
Luke Bryan, Aug. 29, 2015?
Zac Brown Band, May 16, 2015
Florida Georgia Line, Nov. 1, 2014 & Sept. 17, 2016
Jason Aldean, Oct. 25, 2014, Oct. 1, 2016 & April 28, 2018
Blake Shelton, Oct. 18, 2014
Rounding out the Artist 100’s top five, Eminem holds at No. 2, Drake rises 5-3, BTS repeats at No. 4 and Post Malone moves 7-5.
Just outside the top 10, 6LACK re-enters the Artist 100 at No. 14, a new peak, as his sophomore album East Atlanta Love Letter debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 77,000 units.
Check out this week’s full Artist 100 chart here.