Billie Eilish’s latest studio album Happier Than Ever debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart (dated Aug. 14) with the third-largest sales week, and second-largest sales debut, of 2021. The set, which was released on July 30, launches with 153,000 copies sold in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 5, according to MRC Data.
Only Taylor Swift managed bigger sales weeks this year, when her 2020 album Evermore was released on vinyl in May, causing a huge surge in total sales (rising to 192,000 on the chart dated June 12) and when Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was released, selling 179,000 copies in its first week (April 24).
Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now MRC Data. Pure album sales were the measurement solely utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Happier Than Ever’s sales of 153,000 in the week ending Aug. 5, physical album sales comprise 129,000 (with a whopping 73,000 on vinyl, 46,000 on CD and nearly 10,000 on cassette) and 24,000 via digital download.
Happier’s vinyl sales start of 73,000 marks both the second-largest sales week, and second-largest debut week, for a vinyl album since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991. The only larger week was registered by the arrival of Swift’s Evermore on vinyl earlier this year (102,000; chart dated June 12).
Evermore’s vinyl release on May 28 trailed the wide digital release of the album by five months, as the digital and streaming editions were released on Dec. 11, 2020. Evermore’s vinyl debut was aided by five months of banked pre-orders (the vinyl went up for sale in mid-December), while Eilish had three months of pre-orders (her pre-order went live at the end of April). And lastly, Evermore was initially available in three vinyl variants for its May 28 release, as compared to Eilish’s eight vinyl variants.
Prince’s archival studio album Welcome 2 America debuts at No. 2 on Top Album Sales with 50,000 copies sold – the largest sales week for an R&B album in 2021 and Prince’s biggest debut sales week since 2014’s Art Official Age launched with 51,000.
Of Welcome’s starting sum, physical album sales comprise 43,000 (22,000 on vinyl LP and 21,000 on CD) and 7,000 comprise digital albums.
As Welcome 2 America starts with 50,000 sold, it marks only the third time in 2021 that two albums each sold at least 50,000 copies in the same week. It previously happened in the tracking weeks ending May 27 (when Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour and Twenty One Pilots’ Scaled and Icy debuted at Nos. 1 and 2 with 72,000 and 51,000, respectively) and April 1 (when Carrie Underwood’s My Savior and NF’s Clouds debuted at Nos. 1 and 2 with 68,000 and 58,000, respectively).
Grateful Dead’s latest archival live release, Dave’s Picks, Volume 39: The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA – 4/26/83, bows at No. 3 on Top Album Sales with 22,000 sold (all from CD sales). That 22,000 sum is the largest sales week for a Grateful Dead album since the week ending Dec. 24, 1995, when Hundred Year Hall sold 25,000 copies.
Bleachers’ new studio album, Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night, enters at No. 4 with 15,000 sold. It’s the act’s first studio effort since 2017’s Gone Now. The new album was a sturdy seller on vinyl, moving 7,500 copies on the format, good enough for a debut at No. 3 on the Vinyl Albums chart, behind Eilish and Prince at Nos. 1 and 2.
NEEDTOBREATHE’s latest effort, Into the Mystery, debuts at No. 5 on Top Album Sales with 9,000 sold. It’s the fifth top 10 effort for the act on Top Album Sales.
Durand Jones & The Indications’ Private Space debuts at No. 8 on Top Album Sales with nearly 8,000 sold – with 6,500 sold on vinyl LP. It’s the first top 10 for the act, which got as high as No. 56 in 2019 with American Love Call.
A pair of former No. 1s wraps up the top 10, as Taylor Swift’s Folklore falls 2-9 with 7,500 (down 51%) and Tomorrow x Together’s The Chaos Chapter: Freeze falls 7-10 with 7,000 (up 1%).
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