As expected, P!nk claims her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with Beautiful Trauma, which starts atop the list with 2017’s largest week for an album by a woman and the fourth-biggest week among all acts. It launches with a larger-than-expected 408,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Oct. 19, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 384,000 were in traditional album sales — the best sales week of the year among all acts.
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. 4-dated chart (where Beautiful Trauma debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday (Oct. 24).
Beautiful Trauma is the pop singer-songwriter’s second No. 1 album, following 2012’s The Truth About Love (her last solo studio effort), which started atop the list with 280,000 copies sold (before the chart transitioned to a consumption-ranked list in late 2014). In total, Beautiful is P!nk’s seventh top 10 effort.
Among all albums in 2017, in terms of weekly units earned, Beautiful Trauma trails only the debuts of Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN. (603,000; chart dated May 6), Drake‘s More Life (505,000; April 8) and Ed Sheeran‘s ÷ (Divide) (451,000; March 25). P!nk’s album has the biggest week by a woman since Beyoncé‘s Lemonade arrived at No. 1 with 652,000 units (May 14, 2016).
Further, Beautiful Trauma has the largest sales week among all albums since Drake’s Views debuted with 852,000 copies sold (May 21, 2016).
Of Beautiful Trauma‘s overall unit start, 10,000 were in TEA units, while 13,000 were in SEA units. The set was overwhelmingly powered by traditional album sales: 384,000. Of that sum, 101,000 were digital albums, while 283,000 were physical CDs. (It sold another 1,000 on vinyl LP.)
The album’s sales launch is the biggest sales week for an album in 2017, and the largest for any album since Drake’s Views debuted at No. 1 with 852,000 copies sold (chart dated May 21, 2016).
Like so many other albums, Beautiful Trauma’s debut frame was boosted by a concert ticket/album sale redemption promotion. The cost of the CD edition of the album was bundled into the purchase price of each ticket sold online to P!nk’s upcoming 40-date U.S. and Canada 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.
Nielsen Music does not break out specifically how much of any album’s sales are generated by concert ticket/album bundle offers. However, CD sales from ticket bundles are categorized as Internet sales by the company, and Beautiful Trauma‘s Internet sales figure was 249,000. So, one can assume most of that number is from the ticket bundle — minus a smallish amount (perhaps in the low five-figures) for traditional sales from Amazon and other web-based retailers.
Artists and record labels have increasingly turned to offering ticket/album bundles as a way to sell music, as the traditional retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent years, and as album sales continue to shrink. Not only are a growing number of fans turning to streaming in order to consume albums (instead of buying them), but the brick-and-mortar retailers that remain in business have dramatically reduced the number of titles they sell in stores (as well as the physical floor space for those albums). In turn, artists have found new ways to sell their music — from selling them bundled with merchandise, to offering them with concert tickets.
Tickets for P!nk’s tour went on sale Oct. 10 for American Express card members, and then to the general public on Oct. 13 (the same day as the album’s release).
Because most ticket buyers usually take advantage of these ticket/album sale redemption offers in an album’s first week of release, albums offered with a bundle tend to have a large debut frame — but then fall hard in their second week when there are far fewer sales generated by the bundle. So far in 2017, the chart has seen a variety of No. 1-debuting albums enhanced by ticket bundle offers implode in their second frames. Shania Twain‘s Now tumbled from No. 1 to No. 29 in its second week, The Killers‘ Wonderful Wonderful fell 1-59, LCD Soundsystem‘s American Dream dropped 1-56, Arcade Fire‘s Everything Now collapsed 1-38, and so on.
P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma was ushered in by the single “What About Us,” which has so far peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 (the artist’s 23rd top 40-charting effort), No. 3 on the Adult Pop Songs airplay chart, No. 13 on the Pop Songs airplay chart, and No. 10 on the all-genre Radio Songs chart.
To promote the album, P!nk was profiled on CBS’ Sunday Morning (Oct. 8), and performed on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (Oct. 12), NBC’s Saturday Night Live (Oct. 14), and ABC’s Good Morning America (Oct. 16).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, rapper Gucci Mane debuts with Mr. Davis, launching with 70,000 units (21,000 from traditional album sales). The set was powered by streams, as it racked up 46,000 SEA units (equaling 68.7 million streams of the songs on the album during its debut frame). Mr. Davis ties 2016’s Everybody Looking as Gucci Mane’s highest-charting album. Everybody Looking bowed with 68,000 units. Overall, Gucci Mane has logged 19 charting albums, with four of them reaching the top 10.
Alt-rock singer-songwriter Beck bows at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with his new album, Colors (46,000 units; 41,000 in traditional album sales). It’s his sixth top 10 album, and follows Morning Phase (No. 3 in 2014; 87,000 copies sold in its first week — before the chart became consumption-based), which won the Grammy Award for album of the year in 2015.
<a href=”/music/post-malone”>Post Malone</a>’s Stoney holds at its No. 4 high (45,000 units; up 1 percent), Lil Uzi Vert‘s Luv Is Rage 2 rises 7-5 (35,000 units; down 5 percent) and Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) climbs 10-6 (33,000 units; up 1 percent). The latter album gets a boost from SEA and TEA units, as its latest single, “Perfect,” continues to find success.
Imagine Dragons‘ Evolve ascends 9-7 (nearly 33,000; down 5 percent), <a href=”/music/a-boogie-wit-da-hoodie”>A Boogie Wit da Hoodie</a>’s The Bigger Artist falls 6-8 (31,000; down 21 percent) and <a href=”/music/lil-pump”>Lil Pump</a>’s self-titled album drops 3-9 in its second week (30,000; down 34 percent).
Closing out the top 10 is an artist who earns her first Billboard 200 top 10: <a href=”/music/st-vincent”>St. Vincent</a>, with Masseduction debuting at No. 10 (29,000 units; 25,000 in traditional album sales). The singer-songwriter previously peaked at No. 12 with her last album, her 2014 self-titled effort, which bowed with 29,000 copies sold (again, before the chart began ranking titles by units).