Taylor Swift’s 1989 holds steady at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a fifth non-consecutive week. Swift has now spent a cumulative total of 29 weeks at No. 1 with her four chart-topping albums. Among women, only Whitney Houston (with 46 weeks at No. 1) and Mariah Carey (30) have more weeks atop the tally.
As reported previously, the Billboard 200 chart now measures multi-metric album consumption, including pure album sales. The ranking combines on-demand streaming and digital track sales in addition to traditional album sales, all measured by Nielsen Music.
On the latest Billboard 200, 81.4 percent of its total album equivalent units (adding up the weekly unit totals of Nos. 1 through 200) are pure album sales. The rest of its units are track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Swift’s 1989 moved 274,000 units in the week ending Dec. 7. That’s down 19 percent from its 339,000 sum a week earlier. It’s not unusual for albums to dip a bit on the chart in the week following the always-busy Thanksgiving shopping frame (which was reflected on last week’s chart).
1989 also stays puts at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart, which maintains the old Billboard 200’s methodology of ranking pure album sales. It sold 230,000 copies in the most recent tracking week (down 18 percent).
A cappella group Pentatonix is stationary at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with its holiday album That’s Christmas To Me (221,000 units, down 3 percent; 208,000 in album sales). It’s the highest-charting Christmas album since the Jan. 7, 2012-dated chart, when Michael Buble’s Christmas spent its fifth and final week at No. 1.
Veteran rock band AC/DC debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with Rock Or Bust. It starts with 174,000 units, the bulk of which is powered by 172,000 in album sales. The new set is the group’s first studio effort since 2008’s Black Ice blasted in at No. 1. The latter was initially exclusively sold through Walmart, Sam’s Club and AC/DC’s Web site, and powered through 784,000 copies in its first week.
Rock Or Bust — which is not exclusive to any one retailer — is the act’s ninth top 10 album. They previously reached the region with Back In Black (No. 4 in 1980), Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (No. 3, 1981), For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) (No. 1, 1981), The Razor’s Edge (No. 2, 1990), Ballbreaker (No. 4, 1995), Stiff Upper Lip (No. 7, 2000), Black Ice (No. 1, 2008) and the Iron Man 2 soundtrack (No. 4, 2010).
Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour rises one rung to No. 4 (81,000 units, down 35 percent) with a handsome chunk of its units coming from both track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Of its 81,000 total for the week, 71 percent (57,000) is comprised of pure album sales. The rest were TEA and SEA units.
One Direction’s Four slips 4-5 on the Billboard 200 with 74,000 units (down 40 percent). The album also falls 4-5 on the Top Album Sales chart (61,000; down 41 percent).
Idina Menzel’s Holiday Wishes rises 13-6 with just over 66,000 units (up 14 percent). Its rise is mostly encouraged by pure album sales, which make up 63,000 of its total for the week. Menzel can also be heard singing on the Frozen soundtrack, which descends 9-10 with 43,000 units — down 39 percent. (Pure album sales make up 37,000 of the latter figure.)
Holiday Wishes is the second of three Christmas albums in the top 10. It follows Pentatonix at No. 2, and precedes Michael Buble’s surging Christmas at No. 7 (up eight rungs). The latter title shifted 66,000 units (up 18 percent). It also zips 13-6 on Top Album Sales and spends a 19th non-consecutive week atop the Top Catalog Albums chart (57,000 in album sales; up 14 percent).
Back on the Billboard 200, Garth Brooks’ Man Against Machine returns to the top 10, as the country king’s latest studio effort rises 11-8 with 57,000 units (down 10 percent). His chart placing is driven entirely by pure album sales, as his album is unavailable on streaming services and its tracks are not being sold individually in digital stores.
The second and final debut in the top 10 is Mary J. Blige’s The London Sessions, starting at No. 9 with 57,000 units. It’s her lucky 13th top 10 album, and it arrives mostly based on pure album sales (55,000). The set is her first release through Capitol Records, and was co-written in London with a crop of new British artists like Sam Smith, Disclosure and Emile Sande.