The surprise release, which arrived on March 30 via XO/Republic Records, earned 169,000 equivalent album units in the week ending April 5, according to Nielsen Music — the biggest week for an R&B album in over a year, since his own last album. Of that sum, 68,000 were in traditional album sales.
The six-song album appeared with little warning, following a cryptic Instagram post on March 27, which led to a confirmation of an album two days later. My Dear Melancholy follows The Weeknd’s two previous No. 1s: 2016’s Starboy and 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness.
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 April 14-dated chart (where The Weeknd debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, April 10.
Notably, My Dear Melancholy logs the largest week for an R&B album — by equivalent album units — in over a year. The last R&B set to post a bigger frame was Starboy, on the list dated Dec. 17, 2016, when it tallied 348,000 units in its debut week.
Further, My Dear Melancholy notches the highest sales week for an R&B album in nearly a year. The last R&B set to sell more was Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman, which started with 72,000 copies sold on the chart dated May 20, 2017.
My Dear Melancholy is currently only available to purchase as a digital download, as its CD counterpart is slated for an April 13 release. (Most surprise albums don’t see their CD editions arrive until a couple weeks after their initial digital release due to the amount of time it takes to manufacture product.)
Though My Dear Melancholy’s sales were solid, the album’s debut saw more than half of its units driven by streams. The title bows with 94,000 SEA units, which equates to 140.8 million on-demand audio streams of the set’s songs (each SEA unit is equal to 1,500 streams). My Dear Melancholy’s streaming start of 94,000 SEA units is the third-biggest streaming week for an album in 2018, following the debut frames of Migos’ Culture II (150,000 SEA units) and XXXTentacion’s ? (106,000 SEA units). My Dear Melancholy’s streaming sum is even more impressive, considering it was achieved with only six songs. Comparably, Culture II had 24 tracks assisting its big streaming start, while ? had 18.
The biggest song on My Dear Melancholy appears to be its lead-off track, “Call Out My Name.” The tune is likely headed for a top 10 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 dated April 14.
Finally, My Dear Melancholy is the shortest album — by track count — to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in nearly eight years. In 2010, the Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals soundtrack, which also had just six tracks, bowed at No. 1 on the list dated June 26. For the last six-track (or shorter) No. 1 album by an artist, one has to scroll back to the Dec. 18, 2004 chart, when JAY-Z and Linkin Park teamed up for the six-track MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course. (The album was initially only available in a CD/DVD edition, where the DVD included the MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups: Linkin Park vs. JAY-Z TV special and other video footage.) Previous to Collision Course, the last six-track No. 1 set was George Benson’s Breezin’, way back on the July 31 and Aug. 7-dated charts in 1976.
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200 chart, rapper Rich The Kid sees his full-length debut studio album The World Is Yours arrive with 59,000 units earned. Of that sum, just 6,000 were in traditional album sales. The set’s SEA units were unsurprisingly large: 50,000. The album is currently enjoying a top 20 hit on the Hot 100 with “Plug Walk,” which is Rich The Kid’s highest-charting hit.
XXXTentacion’s former No. 1, ?, dips from No. 2 to No. 3 with 57,000 units (down 25 percent).
Singer Kacey Musgraves collects her third top 10 album, as her seventh studio album Golden Hour bows at No. 4 with 49,000 units (with 39,000 of that sum powered by traditional album sales). Musgraves previously visited the top 10 with Pageant Material (No. 3 in 2015) and Same Trailer Different Park (No. 2, 2013).
Golden Hour is the highest charting country album since Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country launched at No. 1 on the Dec. 30, 2017-dated list.
The soundtrack to The Greatest Showman slips one spot to No. 5 with 46,000 units (down 3 percent).
As for the rest of the top 10: Black Panther: The Album falls 3-6 with 43,000 units (down 9 percent), Migos’ Culture II drops 5-7 with 41,000 units (down 8 percent), Post Malone’s Stoney descends 7-8 with 29,000 units (down 3 percent), Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) moves 8-9 with 28,000 units (down 4 percent) and Logic’s Bobby Tarantino II slides 6-10 with 27,000 units (down 20 percent).