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One Direction Scores Historic Third No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart

One Direction's "Midnight Memories" debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week with 546,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week with 546,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The act makes history as the first group to debut at No. 1 with its first three albums. “Midnight Memories” follows two No. 1s for the act in 2012: its debut album, “Up All Night,” and sophomore set “Take Me Home.”

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Further, One Direction is—as we forecast last Thursday—the first group to reach No. 1 with their first three albums since 1967.

The Monkees’ self-titled debut was released in 1966 and climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in its sixth week on the chart. The TV-born act—riding high with its hit NBC series—followed up the No. 1 success with three more consecutive No. 1s in 1967: “More of the Monkees,” “Headquarters” and “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.”

One Direction’s first-week sales have also steadily grown with each successive album. Its first set, “Up All Night,” bowed atop the list with 176,000, while “Take Me Home” launched with 540,000.

The act follows the recent successes of Drake, Selena Gomez, Luke Bryan and Vampire Weekend in 2013—all of whose respective albums have bowed with a bigger first week than the one before it. (You canalso include Eminem in that list, to a degree. His last two albums each debuted stronger than the one before.)


With the start of “Midnight Memories,” One Direction also becomes only the third pop group to log multiple half-million sales weeks in the Nielsen SoundScan era. Since the company began tracking sales in 1991, only two other pop groups have notched more than one sales week of 500,000: ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys.

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‘N Sync did it seven times with three different albums, while Backstreet Boys did it nine times with two albums. Other duos/groups and bands have earned numerous 500,000-plus frames, but they were all R&B, rap, country or rock acts. (They are: Coldplay, Creed, Dave Matthews Band, Dixie Chicks, Eagles, Guns N’ Roses, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Outkast, Rascal Flatts, Santana, the Beatles and Tool.)

Last week’s No. 1 album, Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2,” is pushed down to No. 2, despite a 65% sales gain. It sold 199,000 for the week.

All but four of the albums in the top 75 of the chart this week have sales increases, courtesy of the very busy Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend and Black Friday promotions. Scrolling down the chart, the first album to experience a dip in sales is way down at No. 23: Daughtry’s “Baptized,” which falls by 35% in its second week. All four of the albums in the top 75 whose sales declined are also only in their second week on the chart. (It’s always difficult for any album, even during Thanksgiving, to manage a gain in their second week on the chart.) 

Coming in at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 this week is Garth Brooks’ new Walmart-exclusive boxed set, “Blame It All on My Roots.” The six-CD/two-DVD set carries a bargain list price of $29.98, but was sale-priced for $24.96. It moved 164,000 copies in less than four days on sale, as the album was released on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28). The newest tracking sales tracking week ended Sunday, Dec. 1.

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The effort is the highest-charting album withmore than two discs since April 18, 2009. That week, Prince and Bria Valente’s triple-disc set “Lotus Flow3r/MPLSound/Elix3r” debuted and peaked at No. 2. (It also happened to be exclusive to one retailer: Target.)

Brooks is no stranger to high-charting multidisc sets. He famously debuted at No. 1 in 1998 with “The Limited Series,” a six-CD boxed set of his previously released studio albums (each with a bonus track).

“Blame It All on My Roots” features four discs of newly recorded cover songs, along with two discs of greatest hits. (The hits CDs are actually his 2007 “The Ultimate Hits” album.) The release was supported by a two-hour live CBS concert special that airedNov. 29.

Brooks last charted on the Billboard 200 with”The Ultimate Hits,” which debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Nov. 24, 2007, list. Unlike the new boxed set, “The Ultimate Hits” was not exclusive to Walmart.

“Blame It All on My Roots” also arrives at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, the country icon’s 13th No. 1 on that list. Of his 16 chart entries, only three missed the top: his 1989 self-titled debut and two Christmas efforts (1992’s “Beyond the Season” and 2001’s “The Magic of Christmas—Songs From ‘Call Me Claus'”).

One Direction and Brooks are the only two newarrivals in the top 10 this week. The next-highest debut is the soundtrack to “Frozen,” which bows at No. 18 with 44,000.

Back in the top 10, the Robertsons’ “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” is steady at No. 4 with 137,000 (up 127%), and Katy Perry’s “PRISM” vaults 11-5 with 136,000 (up 252%). Both albums were among the many sets that were sale-priced at big-box retailers for Black Friday. Both went for $6.99 at Walmart, while “PRISM” also sold for $7 at Target and $4.99 at Amazon MP3.

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Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” rises 9-6 with 131,000 (up 195%). Like “Duck the Halls” and “PRISM,” Clarkson’s set was discounted to an attractive post-Thanksgiving price. It sold for $7 at Target.

Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP” moves up one position to No. 7 with 116,000, a 154% gain. The diva experiences a bump in sales thanks to sale pricing and exposure gleaned from her Thanksgiving night ABC TV special, “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular.” The album went for $4.99 at Amazon MP3, $6.99 at Walmart and $7 at Target.

Two more discounted sets make gains in the top 10: Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” climbs 15-8 with 109,000 (up 318%), and Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz” rises 16-9 with 79,000 (up 228%). Bryan was $6.99 at Walmart, while Cyrus was $7 at Target.

Closing out the top 10 is the “Now 48” album, down seven slots, selling 77,000 (up 22%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Pitbull’s “Timber” (featuring Ke$ha) jumps to No. 1 for the first time, selling 237,000 downloads (up 43%). Last week, the song was ranked at No. 4. It’s the first No. 1 on the Digital Songs chart for Pitbull, who previously went as high as No. 2 with three different tunes: “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho),” his featured turn on Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” and “Give Me Everything.”

For Ke$ha, “Timber” is her third No. 1 and her first since 2010’s “We R Who We R” debuted atop the list.

“Timber,” like many songs on the chart this week, benefits from performances on the “American Music Awards” (AMAs), which took place on Sunday, Nov. 24.

Last week’s leader, Eminem’s “The Monster,” featuring Rihanna, falls to No. 2 with 231,000 (down 4%).

The AMAs also help A Great Big World’s “Say Something,” featuring Christina Aguilera, which climbs 6-3 with 197,000 (up 63%). Also seeing AMAs-related bumps in the top 10: One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” which re-enters at No. 7 with 118,000, and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” which climbs 10-9 with 99,000 (up 11%).

Elsewhere in the top 10, OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” dips 3-4 with 175,000 (up 5%), and Lorde’s “Royals” slips 2-5 with 144,000 (down 19%). Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” falls one rung to No. 6 with 124,000 (down 1%), and Passenger’s “Let Her Go” descends a slot to No. 8 with 115,000 (down 1%). Perry’s “Roar” rounds out the top 10, falling one position to No. 10, with nearly 99,000 (down less than 1%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Dec. 1) totaled 8.6 million units, up 62% compared with the sum last week (5.3 million) and up 14% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (7.5 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 253.6 million, down 8% compared with the same total at this point last year (275.3 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.9 million downloads, up 7% compared with last week (19.5 million) and down 6%stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (22.2 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 1.16 billion, down 4% compared with the same total at this point last year (1.21 billion).

Next week’s Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Taylor Swift’s “Red” returned to No. 1, selling 167,000 (up 22%). Wiz Khalifa’s “O.N.I.F.C.” was the top debut, bowing at No. 2 with 141,000.