Plus: Sting & Shaggy debut in the top 40 with “44/876,” Kanye West’s return to Twitter prompts a big streaming gain.
On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated May 5), J. Cole collected his fifth No. 1 with KOD, as the set blasted in with the year’s biggest week: 397,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending April 26, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Now, let’s take a closer look at some the action on the rest the Billboard 200:
— AC/DC, Back in Black – No. 152 — AC/DC’s classic 1980 album Back in Black re-enters the Billboard 200 at No. 152, thanks in part to sales generated from a limited-edition cassette reissue the album for Record Store Day (April 21). (Its cassette has been out print since 2006.) The album earned 6,000 equivalent album units (up 36 percent), which 3,000 were in traditional album sales (up 105 percent). Cassette sales accounted for 45 percent the set’s total sales for the week.
— Sting & Shaggy, 44/876 – No. 40 — Sting and Shaggy’s team-up on the collaborative reggae/pop album 44/876 yields the first No. 1 for rock legend Sting on the Reggae Albums chart, and the sixth leader for reggae superstar Shaggy. The set launches atop the list with 10,000 copies sold in the week ending April 26.
Sting adds another No. 1 to his impressive array genre chart leaders, as he previously topped such lists as Traditional Classical Albums (Dowland: Songs From the Labyrinth), Classical Crossover Albums (If On a Winter’s Night… and Symphonicities) and Holiday Albums (Winter’s). For Shaggy, 44/876 is his sixth chart-topper on the 24-year-old Reggae Albums list, placing him into a four-way tie for the third most No. 1s with Beenie Man, Christafari and UB40. Bob Marley has the most, with 18, followed by Matisyahu and Rebelution, with seven each.
On the Billboard 200, 44/876 starts at No. 40 with 12,000 equivalent album units (mostly driven by album sales). It’s the 15th top 40-charting effort for Sting (as a soloist) and the fourth for Shaggy. The latter artist hasn’t been in the region since Lucky Day debuted and peaked at No. 24 in 2002. Sting was last in the top 40 when 57th & 9th, opened at No. 9 in 2016.
Sting isn’t the first artist from outside the reggae genre to score a No. 1 on the Reggae Albums chart. He follows Joss Stone (Water for Your Soul), Snoop Dogg (as Snoop Lion, Reincarnated), Nas (Distant Relatives, with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley) and Willie Nelson (Countryman).
— Taylor Swift, 1989 – No. 67— Following 1989’s hot-pink vinyl release for Record Store Day, the set rises 111-67 with 9,000 units (up 39 percent), which 3,000 were in vinyl sales (up 1,156 percent), driven largely by sales the hot-pink edition. Swift’s Fearless album also bounds back onto the list, at No. 174, aided by its gold vinyl issue for Record Store Day. The set earned 5,000 units (up 70 percent), which 3,000 were in traditional album sales (up 382 percent).
— Kanye West, The Life Pablo – No. 91 — In the wake Kanye West’s return to Twitter — and continuous headline-grabbing statements — his most recent album, The Life Pablo, surges 112-91. The set tallied 8,000 units (up 18 percent), nearly all from SEA units (up 18 percent). In the week ending April 26, West’s catalog albums earned 30,000 units (up 17 percent), while his songs garnered 36.9 million on-demand audio streams (up 10 percent).
— Kimbra, Primal Heart – No. 179 — Kimbra collects her third entry on the Billboard 200 as Primal Heart steps onto the tally with 5,000 units. Of that sum, 4,000 were in traditional album sales, prompting the set’s start at No. 43 on Top Album Sales.