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Niall Horan’s ‘Flicker’ Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart

Niall Horan arrives atop the Billboard 200? chart with his debut solo album, "Flicker." Horan is the third member of group One Direction to notch a solo No. 1 album, a feat matched only by The…

Niall Horan arrives atop the Billboard 200 chart with his debut solo album, Flicker. The set, which was released through Capitol Records on Oct. 20, starts with 152,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Oct. 26, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 128,000 were in traditional album sales.

Horan is the third member of group <a href=”/music/one-direction”>One Direction</a> to notch a solo No. 1 album, a feat matched only by The Beatles. Horan follows fellow One Direction member Harry Styles (with his self-titled debut earlier in 2017) and former group member <a href=”/music/zayn”>Zayn</a> (with his debut album, Mind of Mine, in 2016). The Beatles spun off multiple solo No. 1s from George Harrison (two No. 1s), John Lennon (three No. 1s) and Paul McCartney (six No. 1s, including efforts alongside his band Wings).

One Direction, by the way, boasts four Billboard 200 No. 1s; The Beatles have banked a record 19.

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 Nov. 11-dated chart (where Flicker bows at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites Tuesday (Oct. 31).

The rest of the new Billboard 200’s top 10 will be announced Monday (Oct. 30).


Flicker’s debut frame was powered largely by album sales, as it racked up 128,000 in traditional album sales, along with 6,000 in TEA units and 17,000 in SEA units. (Of its 128,000 sold, 90,000 were CD sales, and 38,000 were digital albums.)

Further, Flicker‘s first-week sales were bolstered by a concert ticket/album sale redemption promotion in association with Horan’s tour. Such promotions have enhanced the sales for such No. 1-debuting albums in 2017 as P!nk‘s Beautiful Trauma, Shania Twain‘s Now and The Killers‘ Wonderful Wonderful.

For Horan’s offer, the cost of the physical CD of Flicker was bundled into the price of each ticket sold online for his tour. After purchasing a ticket, customers received (via email) a redemption offer for the album, where they could choose to redeem the CD and have it mailed to them. The only sales that count towards the charts are those albums that are redeemed by customers. Many ticket buyers never redeem the offer.


In addition, Flicker was available in two separate deluxe editions that came with additional bonus tracks beyond its 10-song tracklist: a standard deluxe with three bonus tunes, and a Target-exclusive edition with five extra tracks (the standard deluxe’s three tracks, along with two Target-only tracks).

Flicker was introduced by a pair of hit singles: “This Town,” which debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 a year ago (Oct. 15, 2016-dated list) and went on to peak at No. 20 in January; and “Slow Hands,” which topped out at No. 11 in September. The latter track also reached No. 1 on the Pop Songs airplay chart, and No. 2 on the all-genre Radio Songs chart.

During Flicker’s release week, Horan visited TV’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Oct. 20), ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Oct. 23) and NBC’s Today (Oct. 26).