Industry forecasters expect Prince could place five albums in the top 10 of next week’s Billboard 200 chart, dated May 14. That tally will reflect the tracking week ending April 28 — and the first full chart week of impact following his death on April 21.
His current No. 1 album, The Very Best of Prince, could sell over 200,000 copies in the week ending April 28. Its total equivalent album unit figure could be over 350,000 — thanks to the sales and streams of its well-known tracks (including the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry”).
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 top 10 of the new May 14-dated Billboard 200 chart is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, May 1.
Most of Prince’s album units are powered by sales and TEA, as the only streaming service that carries his catalog is Tidal. As previously reported, his music is selling very well in part because of its limited availability on streaming services and YouTube. And, as noted in Billboard magazine’s cover story about Prince in 2013, finding classic videos or performance footage of Prince on YouTube or anywhere else on the Web is difficult. “I have a team of female black lawyers who keep an eye on such transgressions,” Prince said at the time. “And you know they’re sharp,” he added with a laugh.
As for Prince’s second-biggest album for the week, look for his classic Purple Rain soundtrack to possibly sell over 100,000 copies (with a total of 110,000-plus units). Two more greatest hits packages are also selling well, as The Hits/The B-Sides could sell 50,000 copies (70,000-plus units) and Ultimate may move 30,000 (and 35,000 units). Another album, 1999, might sell between 25,000 to 30,000 (with 35,000 total units). All five albums could feature in the new top 10, with The Very Best of Prince, Purple Rain and The Hits/The B-Sides aiming for Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
Possibly standing in the way of a second week at No. 1 for The Very Best of Prince is Beyonce’s new Lemonade album, which arrived on April 23. (It’s too early to estimate how large the album’s first week will be.) It’s the follow-up to Beyonce’s self-titled 2013 set, which launched atop the list with a whopping 617,000 copies sold in its first three days, according to Nielsen Music.