Billboard 200: Kendrick Lamar Scores First No. 1 Album, Unseats ‘Empire’ Soundtrack
Kendrick Lamar has scored his very first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, successfully unseating the Empire soundtrack, which had debuted at No. 1 last week.
This, despite Lamar’s new album, To Pimp A Butterfly, releasing a week early due to an internal, accidental leak. The album sold a massive 324,000 copies in its first week, making this the second-largest sales week of 2015, behind only the surprise launch of Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mixtape, which debuted with a mammoth 495,000 copies sold.
Of course, this is far from Lamar’s only dance with Billboard. His 2012 debut good kid, m.A.A.d city peaked at No. 2 with 241,000 copies, and likely would have taken the top spot had it not had the misfortune of debuting the same week as Taylor Swift’s Red, which sold 1.21 million copies that week.
As for last week’s No. 1 album, the Empire soundtrack has fallen to No. 2. Although the news is far from bad. The sales only declined a meager 19 percent in week two, selling 89,000 copies, presumably on the strength of last week’s record-breaking, two-hour season finale on FOX. It’s a property that is very hot right now, and even while Kendrick Lamar is arguably hotter at the moment, the craze surrounding Empire marks it as a bonafide phenomenon.
However, while Kendrick is at the top among new debuts this week, he’s not the only person crashing onto the chart with a new release, as Modest Mouse debuts at No. 3 with 77,000 copies sold for its new album, Strangers To Ourselves. Interestingly, 73,000 of those copies were sold through traditional album sales, illustrating that not all music consumption has gone digital just yet. That said, this has to be a minor bit of a disappointment for the group, considering their last studio album, 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, debuted at No. 1 with 129,000 copies sold. Still, whether ideal or not, this debut is still a strong one. If nothing else, it’s a launch the band should be proud of, considering the steepness of the competition this week. By the same token, Marina and the Diamonds should be proud, considering her third studio album is now her first Top 10 debut. Froot sold just over 46,000 copies to debut at No. 8 and keep just ahead of Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour.
The top 5 was rounded out by two albums that continue to impress on the charts, despite having been around for a whole hell of a lot longer than any of the Top 3 albums above. The Fifty Shades of Grey is holding it down at No. 4 with 60,000 copies sold, while Taylor Swift’s 1989 only dropped 10 percent, selling 56,000 copies to take the No. 5 spot. In short, this was a really strong week for album sales, even though last week’s Top 3 performer, Madonna, was nowhere to be found in the Top 10 this week. Her newest album, Rebel Hearts, burned bright but also burned out fast. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily peg it as a bad sign for Madonna, since she’s still got a worldwide tour coming up, and about as high a profile as she’s had in several years. It should be interesting to see which, if any, of the Top 10 albums this week stick around next week.
But how did the rest of the Top 10 pan out? Check out the full list of the Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 this week below:
TOP 10 ALBUMS ON THE BILLBOARD 200 – 03/26/2015
1. To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar (324,000 copies sold)
2. Empire Soundtrack, Various Artists (89,000 copies sold)
3. Strangers To Ourselves, Modest Mouse (77,000 copies sold)
4. Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack, Various Artists (60,000 copies sold)
5. 1989, Taylor Swift (56,000 copies sold)
6. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake (52,000 copies sold)
7. X, Ed Sheeran (49,000 copies sold)
8. Froot, Marina and the Diamonds (46,000 copies sold)
9. In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith (46,000 copies sold)
10. V, Maroon 5 (44,000 copies sold)