The #1 album in the US last week sold just 823 copies

The Billboard 200 used to be the most important album chart in the known universe. The more your album sold, the higher it climbed.

But then came streaming and sales of physical product went into free fall. To compensate, the industry decided that 1,500 streams from an album was the equivalent to the sale of one album. This has resulted in some interesting situations with this new metric called “equivalent album units.”.

Take this week’s chart. Sitting at #1 is Hoodie SZN by Bronx rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoddie. The dude exploded on streaming services, racking up 83 million on-demand streams. Using Billboard’s 1,500 streams = one album formula, he was credited with selling the equivalent of physical albums 55,333 albums.

Add in sales of digital tracks, digital versions of the albums, and physical CD sales, Billboard came up with a final number of about 58,000 albums sold, good enough for the #1 spot.

But back up. Out of those 58,000 “equivalent album units,” only 823 were actual physical CDs.

In other words, A Boogie Wit a Hoodie made it to number one on the Billboard album chart by selling just 823 CDs. How times have changed.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “The #1 album in the US last week sold just 823 copies

  • January 19, 2019 at 3:13 pm
    Permalink

    If stores actually stocked CDs then sales actually might be higher. Duh.

    Reply

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