On the latest Billboard 200 chart (dated April 25), the Furious 7 soundtrack sped its way to No. 1, becoming the fourth soundtrack to top the list in the past 12 months. The multi-artist album, led by Wiz Khalifa’s No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “See You Again,” shifted 111,000 equivalent album units in the week ending April 12, according to Nielsen Music.
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).
Let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the chart:
— Taylor Swift, 1989 – No. 5 — As the set’s total sales rise to 4.678 million sold through the week ending April 12, it also becomes the first album to sell a million copies in 2015. It sold another 27,000 copies in the most recent tracking frame, bringing its 2015 sum to 1.015 million. (More on Swift in just a moment…)
— Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly – No. 7 — The album surpasses 500,000 in cumulative sales, as the set sells another 29,000 copies in the week (upping its total to 513,000). That makes it the seventh album to sell a half-million copies in 2015, and gives the music industry the fastest accumulation of half-million sellers since 2010. That year, through the week ending April 11, there were eight titles to sell 500,000 copies. (2010 finished with 48 half-million sellers.)
A year ago at this point, just three albums had sold more than 500,000 through the week ending April 13: the Frozen soundtrack, Beyonce’s self-titled album and Eric Church’s The Outsiders. The year saw a total of 31 albums sell 500,000.
So far in 2015, we’ve seen half-million sellers from Taylor Swift’s 1989 (the year’s biggest selling album with 1.015 million copies), Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, Ed Sheeran’s X, Meghan Trainor’s Title and Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.
— Wale, The Album About Nothing – No. 11 — The rapper’s album slides from No. 1 to No. 11 in its second week on the chart. It’s the 13th album this decade to fall from No. 1 straight out of the top 10. It last happened on the March 28-dated chart, when Kelly Clarkson’s Piece By Piece descended 1-12 in its second week.
— Brian Wilson, No Pier Pressure – No. 28 — The legendary Beach Boys member returns with his new solo album, No Pier Pressure, which debuts at No. 28 with 18,000 units. (Traditional album sales comprise just over 17,000 units of that total.) The two-time Grammy Award-winner last visited the chart with 2011’s In the Key Of Disney, which peaked at No. 83.
— Lee Brice, I Don’t Dance – No. 52 — Thanks to a temporary price discount in the Google Play store, where the album was marked down to $2.99, the set roars with a 179 percent weekly sales gain to 7,000 copies sold. Unsurprisingly, 5,000 of that figure were downloads, as the set’s digital sales grew by 985 percent. The sales burst helps I Don’t Dance’s overall equivalent album unit total as well, as it rises by 73 percent to 10,000. The album thus zooms from No. 116 to No. 52 – its highest rank since it was No. 51 on the list dated Oct. 25, 2014. On Top Country Albums, the effort climbs 21-7.
— Cassandra Wilson, Coming Forth By Day – No. 179 — The vocalist earns her fifth No. 1 on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart, as Coming Forth By Day arrives atop the list with 4,000 sold. That sum is Wilson’s best sales week in nine years, since Thunderbird launched with 6,000 copies sold in the week ending April 9, 2006.
The new album also starts at No. 179 on the Billboard 200, with 4,000 overall units earned for the week (essentially all from pure album sales).