Plus: Anderson Pack and Beyoncé debut in the top 10.
BTS captures its third No. 1 album in less than 12 months on the Billboard 200 chart, as Map of the Soul: Persona, debuts atop the list. The seven-track set, which was released on April 12, starts with 230,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending April 19, according to Nielsen Music — a career-best week for BTS. Of that sum, 196,000 were in album sales — another career-high week for the South Korean pop group.
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 April 27-dated chart (where Persona enters at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s websites on April 23.
Of Persona’s first-week units, 196,000 were in album sales, 8,000 in TEA units, and 26,000 in SEA units. The latter figure translates to 37.4 million on-demand audio streams for the set’s songs.
Let’s take a look at some of the notable achievements BTS notches with the arrival of Persona.
Third No. 1 Album in Less Than 11 Months: Some acts take years to accumulate three No. 1 albums, but for BTS, the group needed just under 11 months. Starting from the week they got their first No. 1, Love Yourself: Tear (June 2, 2018-dated chart), continuing through second No. 1, Love Yourself: Answer (Sept. 8, 2018), and now with Persona (April 27, 2019), that’s a span of just under 11 months.
The last act to score three No. 1s faster was Future, when he logged his first three No. 1s in just six months and three weeks with DS2 (Aug. 8, 2015); What a Time To Be Alive, with Drake (Oct. 10, 2015); and Evol (Feb. 27, 2016).
Notably, before Future’s feat, the ensemble cast of the Fox TV series Glee notched all three of its No. 1 soundtracks in just one month and three weeks in 2010. Glee: The Music — The Power of Madonna, bowed at No. 1 on May 8, 2010, and was quickly followed by the chart-topping Glee: The Music, Volume 3 — Showstoppers (June 5, 2010) and Glee: The Music — Journey to Regionals (June 26, 2010).
First Group Since the Beatles to Earn Three No. 1s in Less Than a Year: It’s uncommon for any act to tally three Billboard 200 No. 1s in less than a year. How rare? Before BTS, the last traditional group (excluding the Glee ensemble, whose multiple cast members rotated) to log three leaders within such a quick span was the Beatles in 1995-96, when the band’s archival releases Anthology 1, Anthology 2 and Anthology 3 all debuted at No. 1 in a stretch of 11 months and a week (between Dec. 9, 1995, and Nov. 16, 1996).
Fastest Accumulation of No. 1 Albums by a Group Since the Monkees in 1967: The last group to collect three No. 1s at a faster pace than BTS was the Monkees in 1967, when the quartet reached No. 1 with More of the Monkees (Feb. 11, 1967), Headquarters (June 24, 1967) and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones LTD. (Dec. 2, 1967) in just nine months and three weeks. (Dates mark each album’s first week at No. 1.)
The Fourth Mostly Non-English Album at No. 1 in the Past Year: Persona, like BTS’ previous two No. 1 albums, is performed mostly in the Korean language, with bits of English. In the past year, aside from BTS’ three leaders, Andrea Bocelli’s mostly all-Italian-language album Si also led the list (Nov. 10, 2018).
BTS’ Biggest Week Ever, Fourth-Largest Week of 2019: With 230,000 equivalent album units earned, Persona captures BTS’ biggest week ever in terms of total units, the second-biggest week of 2019 for a group and the fourth-largest frame of 2019. BTS’ previous best was logged with the debut week of Love Yourself: Answer, which began with 185,000 units. The only larger weeks in 2019 were tallied by the opening frames of Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next (360,000 units), Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (313,000) and Backstreet Boys’ DNA (237,000).
BTS’ Largest Sales Week, Second-Biggest Sales Week of 2019: BTS easily claims its largest sales week for an album, as Persona sold 196,000 copies in its first week, beating the act’s previous high with the opening week of Love Yourself: Answer (141,000). In 2019, the only album to log a bigger sales week was Backstreet Boys’ DNA, with 227,000 copies sold in its premiere frame.
Persona likely got a boost in sales from devoted fans who purchased multiple CD copies of the album, as it was released in four different collectible packages (following a similar release strategy for the Love Yourself series of albums). The four versions of the CD package for Persona all came with the same CD album, but the paper goods inside the package (including a poster, booklet and trading cards) vary.
The Third Week With Over 200,000 Units at No. 1: With 230,000 units earned in its first week, Persona gives the Billboard 200 its third week in a row where the No. 1 album has tallied more than 200,000 units. Persona follows the chart-topping arrivals of Khalid’s Free Spirit (202,000) and Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep (313,000). The last time the No. 1 slot had three weeks in a row of 200,000-plus weeks was Aug. 18-Sept. 1, 2018, when Travis Scott’s Astroworld clocked its first two weeks at No. 1 (537,000 and 205,000 units) and Grande’s Sweetener debuted (231,000).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep is steady at No. 2 for a second week with 98,000 equivalent album units (down 17%). Khalid’s Free Spirit slips from No. 1 to No. 3 in its second week, with 82,000 units (down 59%).
Anderson. Paak claims his first Billboard 200 top 10, as Ventura debuts at No. 4. The set, which features guests ranging from Smokey Robinson and Brandy to Nate Dogg and André 3000, earned 55,000 units in its first week (of which 39,000 were in album sales). He previously hit the Billboard 200 with Oxnard (No. 11; Dec. 11, 2018) and Malibu (No. 79; Feb. 6, 2016).
Beyoncé’s surprise-released Homecoming: The Live Album debuts at No. 7 with 38,000 units earned from just two days of tracking activity (with 14,000 of that sum in album sales). The album dropped with no warning in the very early hours of Wednesday, April 17, and the tracking week for the chart ended on April 18. (Billboard’s album charts’ tracking week runs Friday through Thursday.)
Homecoming: The Live Album was released to digital retail and streaming services shortly after the premiere of Beyoncé’s Homecoming film on Netflix at 12:01 a.m. on April 17. Both projects chronicle Beyoncé’s headlining performances at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Homecoming: The Live Album is Beyoncé’s eighth top 10 album as a soloist. She also recently visited the top 10 as one-half of The Carters (alongside husband Jay-Z) with 2018’s No. 2-peaking Everything Is Love.
It’s possible that Homecoming: The Live Album could rise higher on next week’s Billboard 200 chart (dated May 4), after its first full tracking week of activity.
Rounding out the new top 10 on the new Billboard 200 are Juice WRLD’s Death Race for Love (5-8 with 34,000 units; down 9%), Post Malone’s beerbongs & Bentleys (7-9 with just over 29,000 units; down 5%) and A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s Hoodie SZN (9-10 with 29,000 units; down 4%).