Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, earning a whopping 451,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 9, according to Nielsen Music. That’s the largest week for an album in 2017, and the biggest since J. Cole’s 4 Your Eyez Only launched at No. 1 with 492,000 on the Dec. 31, 2016-dated list.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new March 25-dated chart (where Sheeran debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, March 14.
Further, ÷ starts with 322,000 in traditional album sales — again, the largest sales frame for an album since 4 Your Eyez Only debuted with 363,000 copies sold.
This is Sheeran’s second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, following the chart-topping bow of his previous studio effort, x (Multiply), in 2014. That set launched with 209,000 in traditional album sales (before the Billboard 200 transitioned to a ranking based on equivalent album units).
Additionally, ÷ logs the biggest streaming week for an album since 4 Your Eyez Only’s debut frame. ÷ earned 90,000 streaming equivalent album units (which equates to 134.6 million streams of songs from the album in the tracking week). 4 Your Eyez Only arrived with 118,000 streaming equivalent album units (176.9 million streams of the album’s songs).
Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct jumps from No. 14 to No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 with 81,000 units (up 191 percent) and 79,000 in album sales (up 209 percent). The gain is owed mostly to a concert ticket/album bundle sale redemption promotion with the band’s stadium tour that went on sale on Feb. 17. The trek launches on May 10 in Baltimore, Md., at M&T Bank Stadium. Redemptions of albums included with the purchase of a concert ticket register as a sale in the week the customer redeems/receives the album.
Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic holds at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 65,000 units (up 12 percent), Future’s self-titled album dips 2-4 with 52,000 units (down 18 percent), while last week’s leader, Future’s HNDRXX, falls to No. 5 with 49,000 units in its second week (down 59 percent).
Migos’ Culture is steady at No. 6 with 44,000 units (down 6 percent), The Weeknd’s Starboy is stationary at No. 7 with 42,000 units (down 8 percent), and the Moana soundtrack is also a non-mover at No. 8 with 39,000 units (up less than 1 percent).
The second and final debut in the top 10 belongs to Khalid, whose American Teen arrives at No. 9 with 37,000 units (12,000 in traditional album sales). It’s the 19-year-old R&B singer’s debut effort, and was led by the single “Location,” which has reached the top 20 of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Rounding out the Billboard 200’s top 10 at No. 10 is the Trolls soundtrack, falling five slots with 36,000 units (down 28 percent).