Plus: Conan Gray and Kenny Rogers bow in top 10.
The Weeknd rocks the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart, as he scores his fourth No. 1 album with his latest release, After Hours. The set jumps in with the year’s biggest week for any album: 444,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending March 26, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The sum also marks The Weeknd’s personal weekly best.
After Hours was released on March 20 via XO/Republic Records, and is The Weeknd’s first release since his chart-topping six-song EP My Dear Melancholy in 2018.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new April 4-dated chart (where After Hours enters at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on March 31.
After Hours’ first week total of 444,000 equivalent album units comprises 275,000 in album sales, 163,000 in SEA units and 6,000 in TEA units. The album’s SEA sum equates to 220.7 million on-demand streams of the set’s tracks in its first week.
After Hours’ streaming start was so big, the album would have been No. 1 on the Billboard 200 even if it hadn’t sold a single copy. The No. 2 album on the chart is Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake, which falls to No. 2 after two weeks at No. 1, with 115,000 units (down 53%, with 113,000 of that sum in SEA units).
After Hours includes the hits “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights” and the set’s title track. “Heartless” hit No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 dated Dec. 14, 2019 (his fourth No. 1), while “Blinding Lights” rose to a new peak of No. 2 on the most recently published Hot 100 (dated March 28). “After Hours” reached No. 20 on March 7.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the achievements The Weeknd earns with his newest No. 1 album:
Biggest Overall Week of 2020: After Hours’ debut frame of 444,000 units outpaces the year’s previous high-water mark, tallied by the debut of BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7. It entered at No. 1 on the March 7-dated list with 422,000 units.
The Weeknd’s Biggest Week Ever: After Hours also clocks The Weeknd’s single largest week for an album. It surpasses the 412,000-unit start of Beauty Behind the Madness at No. 1 on the Sept. 19, 2015-dated chart.
A Fourth No. 1: After Hours is The Weeknd’s fourth No. 1 album, and fourth in a row. It follows My Dear Melancholy (one week at No. 1, 2018), Starboy (five weeks at No. 1, 2016-17) and Beauty Behind the Madness (three weeks at No. 1, 2015).
2020’s Second-Biggest Sales Week: Album sales powered 62% of After Hours’ first week: 275,000 of 444,000 units. Those sales were driven largely by by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with The Weeknd’s upcoming tour (scheduled to launch in June), as well as more than 80 different merchandise/album bundles sold through The Weeknd’s official website. The largest sales week of 2020 remains the debut of BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7, with 347,000 sold in its first week. (Map didn’t have a ticket/album offer, nor any merchandise/album bundles – though it was released in four elaborate collectible CD packages.)
After Hours also starts at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart, The Weeknd’s fourth leader on that tally.
Biggest Week for an R&B Album in Nearly Four Years: After Hours’ big debut of 444,000 units is the largest week posted by an R&B album in nearly four years. The last R&B set to score a bigger week was Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which blasted in at No. 1 on the May 14, 2016-dated chart with 653,000 units. After Hours also lands the biggest week for an R&B album by a male artist since the chart began ranking album by equivalent album units in December 2014.
Biggest Streaming Week Ever for an R&B Album: With 220.7 million on-demand streams registered for After Hours’ songs in its first week, the album logs the largest streaming week ever for an R&B effort. It beats The Weeknd’s own Starboy, which launched with 175.2 million clicks (Dec. 17, 2016-dated chart).
Back on the new Billboard 200, as noted above, Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake falls to No. 2 after two weeks at No. 1. The set earned 115,000 equivalent album units (down 53%). Lil Baby’s former No. 1 My Turn drops one spot to No. 3 with 60,000 equivalent album units (down 22%), while Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG dips from No. 3 to No. 4 with 51,000 units (down 26%).
Conan Gray’s debut full-length album, Kid Krow, flies in at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart with 49,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 37,000 were in album sales (assisted by a concert/ticket album sale redemption offer with his tour late last year, and merchandise/album bundles). The 21-year-old singer-songwriter signed to Republic Records in 2018 after finding YouTube success with his original music and personal vlogs. After signing with Republic, he hit the Billboard 200 chart with his debut EP, Sunset Season, which debuted and peaked at No. 118 on the Dec. 1, 2018-dated tally.
Roddy Ricch’s former No. 1 Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial is steady at No. 6 on the new Billboard 200 (43,000 equivalent album units; down 13%), Post Malone’s chart-topping Hollywood’s Bleeding rises 8-7 (38,000 units; down 8%) and Jhené Aiko’s Chilombo descends 5-8 (37,000 units; down 34%).
The late Kenny Rogers logs his highest-charting album since 1983, as The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years debuts at No. 9 (32,000 equivalent album units earned, with 10,000 of that sum in album sales).
The 20-track greatest hits collection was released in 2018 via Capitol Records Nashville, and contains such top 10 Hot 100 hits as “The Gambler,” “Lucille” and the No. 1 “Lady.” It does not, however, include one of his most popular hits, the No. 1 smash “Islands in the Stream,” with Dolly Parton. The single was released on RCA Records in 1983 and spent two weeks at No. 1.
Rogers, who died on March 20 at age 81, was last in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 with 1983’s RCA release Eyes That See in the Dark, which peaked at No. 6. The album’s lead single was “Islands in the Stream.”
In total, Rogers has now tallied five top 10 efforts on the all-genre Billboard 200: The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years (No. 9), Eyes That See in the Dark (No. 6), Share Your Love (No. 6, 1981), Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits (No. 1 for two weeks, 1980) and Kenny (No. 5, 1980).
Rounding out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 is the soundtrack to Frozen II. The former No. 1 holds steady at No. 10 with 31,000 equivalent album units earned (down 1%).