Justin Bieber earns his sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his new release Purpose debuts atop the tally.
The set — released Nov. 13 through SchoolBoy/Raymound Braun/Def Jam — earned 649,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Nov. 19, according to Nielsen Music. That’s the largest weekly unit total for an album since the Billboard 200 began tracking popularity based on overall equivalent units earned in December of 2014. (It beats the debut week of Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, which launched with 535,000 units.)
Further, Purpose sold 522,000 in pure album sales — Bieber’s largest sales week ever. It surpasses his previous high, logged with Believe sold 374,000 in its first week back in 2012. Also impressive, Purpose’s 522,000 is the biggest sales week for an album since Taylor Swift’s 1989 debuted with 1.29 million (week ending Nov. 2, 2014), and the largest for a male artist’s album since Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 bowed with 792,000 (week ending Nov. 10, 2013).
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 new Dec. 5-dated chart (where Bieber is No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Purpose is the entertainer’s fifth straight set to open at No. 1, following Believe: Acoustic (in 2013), Believe (2012), Under the Mistletoe (2011) and Never Say Never: The Remixes (EP) (2011).
Before that, Bieber also hit the chart with My Worlds Acoustic (No. 7 in Dec. 2010), My World 2.0 (No. 1 in April 2010) and My World (EP) (No. 5 in April 2010).
Bieber leads a very busy week on the Billboard 200, where a near-record eight albums debut in the top 10. It’s only the fourth time in chart history we’ve had eight debuts in the region. It last happened on the list dated May 21, 2011. Before that, it occurred on Dec. 4, 2010 and Oct. 17, 2009.
Behind Bieber on the new Billboard 200 is the also-arriving One Direction, which launches at No. 2 with Made In the A.M. (459,000 units; 402,000 in pure album sales).
Impressively, this week marks the first time two albums have sold at least 400,000 in the same week since Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream and Alicia Keys’ The Element of Freedom sold 661,000 and 417,000, respectively, in the week ending Dec. 20, 2009. Further, the Bieber/One Direction combo is the first time two debuting albums sold more than 400,000 in the same frame since Kanye West’s Graduation and 50 Cent’s Curtis opened with 957,000 and 691,000 in the week ending Sept. 16, 2007.
Certainly, interest in the Bieber vs. One Direction battle for No. 1 stirred sales for both albums. The two sets sold far more than initially predicted. Before their release, industry forecasters suggested each title was tracking to start with around 300,000 in pure album sales.
Also starting in the new top 10: Logic’s The Incredible True Story (No. 3), Jeezy’s Church In These Streets (No. 4), Chris Young’s I’m Comin’ Over (No. 5), Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Letters From the Labyrinth (No. 7), Alessia Cara’s Know-It-All (No. 9) and Kirk Franklin’s Losing My Religion (No. 10).
Notably, the Def Jam label owns three out of the top four albums (Bieber, Logic and Jeezy) and four in the top 10 (Cara is also on Def Jam). The last label to score three out of the top four on the chart was Columbia Records on June 16, 2012. That week, John Mayer’s Born and Raised at No. 1, Adele’s 21 (on XL/Columbia) was No. 2 and One Direction’s Up All Night (on SYCO/Columbia) was No. 4.