As expected, Drake’s Views album debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with an explosive first week. The set earned 1.04 million equivalent album units in the week ending May 5 in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. Traditional album sales comprised 852,000 copies of that sum (a slight upgrade from the 851,000 that was previously reported).
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 May 21-dated chart (where Views is No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, May 10.
Views was initially released exclusively for sale through the iTunes Store and to stream via Apple Music on April 29 by Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records. On May 6, the album became available for purchase through other digital retailers and its physical CD was also released.
Views is Drake’s sixth straight No. 1 album, and follows the chart topping bows of What a Time To Be Alive (with Future, in 2015), If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015), Nothing Was the Same (2013), Take Care (2012) and Thank Me Later (2010). His only charting album to miss the top was his debut EP, So Far Gone, which peaked at No. 6 in 2009.
It was earlier reported that Views’ sales start is a personal best sales week for Drake, the largest for any album in 2016, and the biggest for a male artist in over three years. The last album by a man to post a bigger sales week was Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience when it debuted with 968,000 copies sold in the week ending March 24, 2013.
Views’ songs were streamed a record 245.1 million times in the U.S. during the tracking week. That sum includes plays of the album’s songs on Apple Music, as well as the handful of songs from the set that were available at other streaming services like Spotify. Previously, the biggest week for streams from an album was Beyonce’s Lemonade, which racked up 115.2 million plays for its songs during its debut week (ending April 28, 2016).
Views’ 245.1 million streams for its songs equates to 163,392 SEA units. (Each SEA unit represents 1,500 streams.)
Overall, Views’ overall units (album sales, TEA and SEA combined) is the largest for any album in 2016, and the biggest since Adele’s 25 collected 1.19 million units in its fifth week of release (week ending Dec. 24, 2015).
Elsewhere in the top 10, Beyonce’s Lemonade album slips from No. 1 to No. 2 in its second week, shifting 321,000 units (down 51 percent). It sold another 196,000 copies (down 60 percent).