Billie Eilish, 21st-Century Pop Paragon, Hits No. 1 With Big Vinyl Sales
Billie Eilish emerged a few years ago as the epitome of the new model’s pop star – flooding the internet with content, designing merchandising herself and racking up tons of fans through social media.
But in some ways, its mode of success is quite traditional. “Happier Than Ever”, the second studio album by the seven-time Grammy winner, opens at No.1 on the latest Billboard album chart with decent streaming traffic but extraordinary sales of vinyls, CDs and even cassettes . It had 114 million streams – vastly surpassed by recent chart-topping others from J. Cole, Olivia Rodrigo and Morgan Wallen, among others – but sold 153,000 copies in a full package.
In total, “Happier Than Ever,” Eilish’s No. 1 second album, recorded the equivalent of 238,000 sales in the United States, according to MRC Data, the tracking arm of Billboard. It was the fifth best opening for an album this year – beaten by Cole, Rodrigo, Wallen and Taylor Swift.
Released in a range of retail exclusive boxes and variants, “Happier Than Ever” achieved 54% of its total sales in the United States in physical formats, including 73,000 vinyls, 46,000 CDs and nearly 10 000 on tape. It recorded the second highest weekly volume of vinyl records since at least 1991, when SoundScan, MRC Data’s predecessor, began keeping accurate data on music sales. (Only Swift’s recent LP of “Evermore,” which sold 102,000 copies after months of pre-orders, had more.)
How unusual is that? Well, last year streaming accounted for 83% of recorded music revenue in the United States, and physical formats only 9%, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But CD and LP sales are much more lucrative than streams and provide a big boost to the charts. Indeed, “Happier Than Ever” would have been n ° 1 this week on vinyl sales alone.
Also this week, “Welcome 2 America”, an unearthed Prince album recorded in 2010, opens at No. 4, with the equivalent of 54,000 sales. Kid Laroi’s “____ Love”, last week’s bestseller, drops to # 2, Rodrigo’s “Sour” is # 3 and Doja Cat’s “Planet Her” is in fifth place.
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