#MusicBusinessMonday: The Top Spot
This post is going to be the first of a series called #MusicBusinessMondays. One thing we all share in common at WVUM is a love of music, but how much does everyone know about the business side of the music industry? I am a music business major, and until I took my first music business class freshman year I never realized just how complicated it can be. This series will cover different topics including, music industry news, observations, new releases, the album release process, royalties, fandoms, just about anything you can think of!
This week we’ll take a look at the top-selling album on the Billboard 200 for the week of June 15- June 21.
5 Seconds of Summer vs. The Carters has been at the top of music magazine headlines the past few days. Who will have the number one release? The Billboard 200 chart ranks albums by analyzing multiple forms of revenue, including traditional physical album sales, downloads, and streams. How many streams equal an album sale? The answer is 1,500! This golden number counts as 10 songs, the length of a traditional album.
5 Seconds of Summer released their third studio album Youngblood on Friday, June 15, 2018. The band got their name out there when they opened for One Direction back 2013, and subsequently their first two albums debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. After nearly two years of silence, the Australian band came back swinging challenging Beyoncé and Jay-Z to top the charts. Vying for the number one spot, the band posted on social media urging for fans to help them get to number one, with other celebs such as Niall Horan also posting.
On Saturday, June 16 Queen B and Jay-Z sent social media into a frenzy when they released their collaborative album Everything is Love, released under their combined name ‘The Carters,’ with zero warning. This release is the final of a trilogy depicting married life, following Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade, and Jay Z’s 2017 album 4:44. There are a few things odd about this release in particular. For one, the album was released on a Saturday afternoon, but record release day is on Fridays. Secondly, the album was initially released exclusively on Tidal, which is owned by Jay Z. It has made its way to other streaming platforms throughout the week and is now available for purchase on iTunes, but it’s still unknown whether or not the album will be released on any physical medium (i.e. CD or vinyl).
So who got the number one spot?! 5 Seconds of Summer managed to snag the coveted spot with Youngblood selling the equivalent of 142,000 album units, and Everything Is Love racking up 123,000 units. This is the first time anyone has beaten Beyoncé to achieve the No. 1 spot on the charts the first week of release.
I think that it’s very important to note that with no marketing, and a limited release Everything Is Love was less than 20,000 units away from beating Youngblood. In later posts, I will delve into how albums are marketed before release and all the hard work that goes into it, which makes The Carters release all the more impressive, and with one day less on the market too! Congratulations to 5SOS and The Carters on great releases.
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