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Chart Beat

Taylor Swift Scores Fifth Week Atop Billboard 200 With ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Plus: Billie Eilish's 'Hit Me Hard and Soft' bows at No. 2 with her largest week ever.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

Beth Garrabrant

Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department snags a fifth straight and total week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart (dated June 1), as the title earned 378,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending May 23 (up 45%), according to Luminate. The set posted its first weekly gain in units following the release of six new digital album download variants and a new CD variant, along with a stock replenishment of the previously available four deluxe CD editions and the signed CD edition of the album — all of which were sold exclusively in Swift’s webstore.

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Poets is the first album to spend its first five weeks at No. 1 since Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time led for its first 12 weeks a year ago (March 18-June 3, 2023-dated charts).

With 378,000 units earned in Poets’ fifth week, the set scores the largest fifth-week for any album since Adele’s 25 tallied 1.193 million units in its fifth frame (chart dated Jan. 9, 2016).

Swift adds her 74th career week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, extending her record among soloists. (Elvis Presley has the second-most among soloists, with 67.) The total encompasses her 14 leaders. (She’s tied with Jay-Z for the most No. 1s among soloists.)

Also in the top 10 of the new Billboard 200, Billie Eilish’s new studio album Hit Me Hard and Soft debuts at No. 2 with 339,000 equivalent album units — her largest week ever by units earned. Of that sum, 191,000 are traditional album sales — her best sales week yet.

Notably, with the Nos. 1 and 2 albums both exceeding 300,000 units, it’s the first time that two albums have cleared 300,000 in the same week in eight years. (More on that later in the story.)

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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, compiled by Luminate. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new June 1, 2024-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on May 29 — one day later than usual, owed to the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. on May 27. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both X, formerly known as Twitter, and Instagram.

Of The Tortured Poets Department’s fifth-week unit sum of 378,000, album sales comprise 210,000 (up 413%, making it the top-selling album of the week at No. 1 on Top Album Sales), SEA units comprise 166,500 (down 23%, equaling 216.9 million on-demand official streams of the deluxe album’s 31 songs; it’s also No. 1 on the Top Streaming Albums chart) and TEA units comprise 1,500 (down 17%).

The Tortured Poets Department’s weekly increase was supported by the continued sturdy sales of the 20-plus existing different iterations of the album and an added boost during the tracking week by a stock replenishment in Swift’s webstore of certain editions, along with the release of a handful of new variants (all of which were only available to U.S. customers).

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During the tracking week, Swift issued six new digital album download variants of the album via her webstore, and all were available for a limited time for $5.99 apiece. Each contained the original standard 16-song album tracklist, along with one unique bonus track. There were three editions with a “first draft phone memo” recording (“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?,” “Cassandra” or “The Black Dog”). There were also three editions with one live recording each from her recent Paris shows during The Eras Tour (“loml,” “My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys” and “The Alchemy x Treacherous Mashup”).

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In the week ending May 23, The Tortured Poets Department sold 77,000 digital albums (across all of the set’s available iterations, both new and old) — a gain of 1,184% compared to the previous week (6,000).

Also new in the tracking week were sales generated from a new CD variant of the album, exclusively sold in Swift’s webstore, which contained the standard 16-song album plus a new bonus track, an acoustic version of the album’s “But Daddy I Love Him.” The CD was sold for 24 hours on May 9 for $7.99. When customers ordered the album, a shipment date was not stated on Swift’s store. (Sales of physical albums from internet mail order companies, such as Swift’s store, or Amazon and other similar web-based retailers, count on the chart in the week they ship to customers.)

The album also got help from a stock replenishment in Swift’s webstore of five previously available editions of the CD: a signed edition and the four deluxe CDs. The signed album was on sale in Swift’s webstore May 14-16 for $25, and a shipment date was not stated at the time of purchase. The four deluxe CDs (in expanded packaging, containing branded merchandise) were available to purchase May 7-8 for $17.99 each, and a shipment date of “on or before May 31, 2024” was noted at the time of sale.

In the week ending May 23, The Tortured Poets Department sold 121,000 copies on CD (across all of its CD iterations) — a gain of 564% compared to the previous week (18,000). (Sales of the album on vinyl decreased by 29% in the tracking week to 12,000, from 17,000 in the previous week.)

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At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Billie Eilish’s new studio album Hit Me Hard and Soft debuts with 339,000 equivalent album units earned — Eilish’s biggest week ever. Of that sum, album sales comprise 191,000 (her best sales week), SEA units comprise 166,500 (equaling 193.93 million on-demand official streams of the set’s 10 songs) and TEA units comprise 1,500. Notably, of the 191,000 in sales, vinyl sales accounted for 90,000 — Eilish’s best sales week on vinyl ever.

Eilish’s previous high-water mark in terms of equivalent album units was the debut of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in 2019, when it registered 313,000 units. Her previous biggest sales week was also the opening frame of When We All Fall Asleep, with 170,000.

The new set is Eilish’s third to reach the top two on the chart (and top 10), as she previously led the tally with Happier Than Ever (in 2021) and When We All Fall Asleep.

The new album’s sales were supported by its availability across nine vinyl editions of the album (in assorted colors — some exclusive to specific retailers; one of the editions was signed and sold only in Eilish’s webstore — all with the same tracklist), four CD editions (a standard CD, a signed CD sold in her webstore, a “splatter” CD sold in her webstore where Eilish splattered paint across the CD booklets en masse and then those were collated into their packaging, and a Target-exclusive CD containing a poster), one cassette tape, a standard digital album, and three deluxe digital sets (a standard digital album with 10 bonus isolated vocal tracks of the album’s 10 songs, a version with 10 bonus sped-up versions and a version with 10 bonus “slowed and reverb” versions). The deluxe digital edition with isolated vocals sold for $9.99 while the other two iterations sold for $6.99 (and were only available for a limited time).

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Eilish announcedHit Me Hard and Soft on April 8. The set was not preceded by any pre-release singles or music — though she did tease a few snippets in some interviews and appearances. On May 15 and 16, she staged two listening events at Barclays Center in New York and the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Additionally, AMC Theatres screened a listening event on May 16-17 across more than 100 theaters in the U.S. On May 17, the day of the album’s release, Eilish dropped an official music video for the set’s “Lunch.” A world tour supporting the new album was announced on April 29 and will kick off on Sept. 29, with dates scheduled through July 2025.

With both The Tortured Poets Department and Hit Me Hard and Soft exceeding 300,000 equivalent album units each, it marks the first time two albums have each cleared 300,000 in a single week in eight years. It last happened on the chart dated May 21, 2016, when Drake’s Views debuted at No. 1 with 1.039 million units, while Beyoncé’s Lemonade fell 1-2 in its second week with 321,000 units.

Morgan Wallen’s chart-topping One Thing at a Time is a non-mover on the new Billboard 200 at No. 3 with 75,000 equivalent album units earned (down less than 1%). Gunna’s One of Wun falls 2-4 in its second week (56,000; down 38%), and Future and Metro Boomin’s former leader We Don’t Trust You dips 4-5 (48,000; down 10%).

Wallen’s former No. 1 Dangerous: The Double Album is pushed down 5-6 despite a 2% gain (to 45,000 equivalent album units), Noah Kahan’s Stick Season slides 6-7 (38,000; down 4%), Zach Bryan’s chart-topping self-titled album is stationary at No. 8 (38,000; up 1%), SZA’s former leader SOS slips 7-9 (37,000; down 3%) and Benson Boone’s Fireworks & Rollerblades descends 9-10 (33,000; down 6%).

Luminate, the independent data provider to the Billboard charts, completes a thorough review of all data submissions used in compiling the weekly chart rankings. Luminate reviews and authenticates data. In partnership with Billboard, data deemed suspicious or unverifiable is removed, using established criteria, before final chart calculations are made and published.

This article was originally published by Billboard U.S.

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Grant W. Martin Photography Courtesy Canadian Music Week

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024

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