Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next storms in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 360,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 14, according to Nielsen Music. The set launches with the biggest week for a pop album in over a year and garners Grande her fourth No. 1 — and second in less than six months. Of Thank U, Next’s starting unit sum, 116,000 were in album sales.
Thank U, Next, released on Feb. 8 through Republic Records, is Grande’s fourth Billboard 200 No. 1. It also launches with the biggest streaming week ever for a pop album.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Feb. 23-dated chart (where Thank U, Next debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s websites on Wednesday, Feb. 20 (a day later than usual, owed to the U.S. Washington’s birthday holiday, often referred to as Presidents’ Day, on Feb. 18).
Grande’s Fourth No. 1 Album: It follows Sweetener (which debuted atop the list dated Sept. 1, 2018), My Everything (Sept. 13, 2014) and Yours Truly (Sept. 21, 2013). Grande ties Taylor Swift for the second-most No. 1s among women this decade, trailing Lady Gaga, with five leaders since 2010.
Two No. 1s in Less Than Six Months: Thank U, Next opens at No. 1 less than six months after Grande last topped the chart, with Sweetener, on the Sept. 1, 2018-dated chart. That span of five months and 22 days is the shortest gap between new No. 1s on the Billboard 200 for a woman since 1974-75, when Olivia Newton-John waited just five months and three days between the first weeks at No. 1 for If You Love Me Let Me Know (Oct. 12, 1974) and Have You Never Been Mellow (March 15, 1975). Both titles spent one week at No. 1.
Grande’s accumulation of her two latest No. 1s is the fastest since K-pop group BTS notched its first two No. 1s in a little over three months just last year (Love Yourself: Tear on June 2, 2018 and Love Yourself: Answer on Sept. 8, 2018). In 2017, rapper Future nabbed an unprecedented pair of back-to-back new No. 1s in successive weeks (with his self-titled album March 11 and HNDRXX on March 18).
Biggest Week for a Pop Album in Over a Year: As Thank U, Next starts with 360,000 units, the set earns the biggest week for a pop album in over a year. The last pop set to tally a larger week was Swift’s Reputation, which began at No. 1 on the chart dated Dec. 2, 2017 with 1.24 million units earned. Thank U, Next also scores the biggest week for an album by a woman since reputation.
Thank U, Next has the largest week of any album since Oct. 13, 2018, when Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V bowed at No. 1 with 480,000 units.
Largest Streaming Week for a Pop Album & Any Album by a Woman: Of Thank U, Next’s starting unit sum of 360,000 units, 228,000 are in SEA units. That latter sum translates to a whopping 307 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s songs during the tracking week. That’s a remarkable sum considering most-heavily-streamed albums are hip-hop sets. (Of the top 20 largest-streaming weeks ever for an album, Thank U, Next is the only non-hip-hop title.)
Thank U, Next easily sets the record for the largest streaming week for a pop album (beating the debut frame of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ [Divide] with 126.7 million on-demand audio streams for its songs; March 25, 2017) and the biggest streaming week for an album by a woman (surpassing the debut week of Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy with 202.6 million; April 21, 2018).
Thank U, Next has the ninth-largest streaming week for an album overall, and the eighth-biggest debut week. Drake’s Scorpion remains the streaming record-holder among all albums, with 745.9 million on-demand audio streams registered for its songs in its debut week (July 14, 2018). (Scorpion actually has two of the top nine biggest weeks, as the album’s second-week streaming sum is the fourth-largest overall, with 391 million.).
Ariana Grande becomes the first artist to hold the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart simultaneously since The Beatles in 1964, as her new album Thank U, Next launches at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums tally.
Grande’s “7 Rings” rules the Hot 100 (dated Feb. 23) for a fourth week, while “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” debuts at No. 2 and former seven-week leader “Thank U, Next” rebounds from No. 7 to No. 3. All three songs are from the Thank U, Next album, released on Republic Records.
Grande is just the second act in the Hot 100’s 60-year history to monopolize the top three in a week. The Beatles earned the honor for five weeks in March and April 1964, even claiming the entire top five on the April 4, 1964-dated chart.
“7 Rings” No. 1 again: Grande’s “7 Rings” spends a fourth week atop the Hot 100, encompassing its entire run on the chart. “Rings” leads the Streaming Songs chart for a fourth frame, with 63.5 million U.S. streams, up 10 percent, in the week ending Feb. 14, according to Nielsen Music. On Radio Songs, “Rings” rises 10-9, up 23 percent to 61.7 million audience impressions in the week ending Feb. 17, good for the Hot 100’s top Airplay Gainer award for a third week.
“Break Up” bows at No. 2: New Thank U, Next single “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” blasts onto the Hot 100 at No. 2 (marking Grande’s 13th top 10). It launches at No. 2 on both Streaming Songs (59.2 million) and Digital Song Sales (36,000 sold), while drawing 13.4 million airplay impressions.
“Next” up, at No. 3: Meanwhile, the Thank U, Next title track and lead single rebounds 7-3 on the Hot 100, after spending seven weeks at No. 1, beginning with its Nov. 17 debut at the summit. It’s powered most heavily by its 36.8 million U.S. streams, up 52 percent, as it surges 14-5 on Streaming Songs and claims the Hot 100’s top Streaming Gainer nod.
Ariana meets The Beatles: Grande is only the second act in the Hot 100’s history to rank at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 simultaneously and the first in nearly 55 years. The Beatles achieved the feat for five weeks in 1964, that March 14, 21 and 28 and April 4 and 25; on April 4, 1964, the group claimed the entire top five.
“7 Rings,” “Break Up” and “Next” mark the first triple-up for an artist at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the Hot 100 since The Beatles held the same spots on April 25, 1964, with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” respectively. (Thus, the last time the honor was earned, the No. 1 song was about how “I don’t care too much for money; money can’t buy me love”; “7 Rings” finds Grande declaring “retail therapy my new addiction.”)
Pop’s resurgence: Meanwhile, Grande has been at the forefront of a turnaround for pop songs’ fortunes atop the Hot 100. On Sept. 22, 2018, Drake’s “In My Feelings” spent its 10th and final week at No. 1, wrapping a record 34-week streak of rap leaders (29 by Drake). Since then, pop songs have led for 20 of 22 weeks, thanks to Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” featuring Cardi B (seven weeks at No. 1); Grande’s “Next” (seven); Halsey’s “Without Me” (two); and Grande’s “7 Rings” (four).
In that 22-week span, two rap titles each spent a week at No. 1: Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” and Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).”
Women at No. 1 in 2019: Plus, women have now spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 on charts dated 2019, starting with the seventh and last week on top on for Grande’s “Next” on the chart dated Jan. 5 (followed by two weeks in charge for “Without Me” and four for “7 Rings”). Thus, as of late February, women in lead roles have almost matched last year’s total time atop the Hot 100, as women as credited leads tallied eight weeks at No. 1 in all of 2018 (including the first six weeks on top for “Next”; Camila Cabello and Cardi B also ruled for a week each as leads in 2018).