Billboard 200 Breakdown: Issue July 21, 2018

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April 1964 Billboard chart | Billboard-Hollywood Media Group

As the standards of the industry continue to shift, the Billboard 200 finds itself in an interesting spot. No longer about sustaining pure sales, lasting on the chart means performing exceptionally in the biggest category (streaming) or holding well across all three metrics.

Take a look at the best (and worst) performers in a number of important chart metrics in the following breakdown of the Billboard 200 albums chart for the July 21, 2018 issue (reflecting the tracking week ending July 12, 2018):

Best

Pure Sales

Sales, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
29,400: Drake – Scorpion (1)
16,400: Various Artists – The Greatest Showman: Original (7)
11,900: Panic At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked (11)
9,800: Gorillaz – The Now Now (33)
8,400: Florence + The Machine – High As Hope (35)

Total Streams

Total Weekly Streams, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
391,000,000: Drake – Scorpion (1)
81,700,000: Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys (2)
73,500,000: Future – BEASTMODE 2 (3)
69,100,000: XXXTentacion – ? (4)
59,700,000: Juice Wrld – Goodbye & Good Riddance (6)

Track Sales

Track Sales, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
179,000: Drake – Scorpion (1)
62,000: Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy (5)
62,000: Post Malone – Beerbongs & Bentleys (2)
61,000: Maroon 5 – Red Pill Blues (12)
38,000: Imagine Dragons – Evolve (17)

Top Weekly Increase (%)

% Up, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
57%: Alan Jackson – Essential Alan Jackson (145)
32%: Taylor Swift – Reputation (15)
20%: Foo Fighters – Greatest Hits (138)
17%: twenty one pilots – Blurryface (76)
15%: Ella Mai – Ready – EP (29)

Worst

Pure Sales

Sales, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
00: Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo (163)
00: Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book (166)
00: Future – BEASTMODE 2 (3)
20: Famous Dex – Dex Meets Dexter (140)
40: Gunna – Drip Season 3 (104)

Total Streams

Total Weekly Streams, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
300,000: Devildriver – Outlaws ‘Til The End, Vol. 1 (172)
600,000: John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once (110)
1,500,000: Bullet for My Valentine – Gravity (192)
2,500,000: Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow (85)
2,800,000: Sugarland – Bigger (198)

Track Sales

Track Sales, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
000: Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book (166)
000: Future – BEASTMODE 2 (3)
165: John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once (110)
200: Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo (163)
400: Frank Ocean – Blonde (182)

Weekly Decline (%)

% Drop, Artist – Album (Billboard 200 Rank)
-85%: Florence + The Machine – High As Hope (35)
-80%: Bullet for My Valentine – Gravity (192)
-77%: Gorillaz – The Now Now (33)
-68%: John Coltrane – Both Directions at Once (110)
-60%: Guns N’Roses – Appetite For Destruction (34)


Some Observations

  • Pure sales are still valued:  The top 5 in pure album sales are all charting in the top 40, with two ranking in the top 10. Meanwhile, none of the bottom five album sellers that are charting (with the exception of the debuting ‘BEASTMODE 2’) rank within the Billboard 200’s top 100.
  • But not really: Looking exclusively at the pure sales values, Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ posts the weakest sum for a #1 album in Billboard 200 history.
  • Stream to stay listed: The top 5 in streams are all top 10 on the chart, meanwhile four of the bottom 5 in streams are outside the top 100.
  • Hit singles enhance shelf life: Much like in the pure sales era, albums with active hits stay chugging. The top 5 in track sales are all top 20 on the chart.
  • Limited releases are damaging in the long run (?): Two of the bottom five pure sellers aren’t even for sale. Meanwhile, a third is only available as a download from the artist’s website (Pablo) and the other two are commercial mixtapes. In addition, four of the bottom five albums in track sales are/were exclusive to either a format or retailer. ‘Coloring Book’ and ‘BEASTMODE 2’ are streaming only. Meanwhile, ‘The Life of Pablo’ is a former Tidal exclusive (singles aren’t widely available) and Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ is a former Apple Music exclusive.
  • Consumers are still consumers: Good promo motivates an increase in activity.
  • Bending the rules works: Might as well do it.
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