BTS lands its fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as Be bows atop the tally. The set, which was released via Big Hit Entertainment on Nov. 20, arrives with 242,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 26, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Be is the second chart-topper of 2020 for the pop group, following Map of the Soul: 7, which debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated March 7.
Also in the new top 10, Megan Thee Stallion’s Good News bows at No. 2, Taylor Swift’s former No. 1 Folklore flies 29-6 after its vinyl edition was released to Target stores and her Disney+ special premiered, and Carrie Underwood’s holiday set My Gift returns to the top 10 with a 25-10 jump.
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 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 Dec. 5-dated chart (where Be debuts at to No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on Dec. 1. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Be’s 242,000 units earned in the tracking week ending Nov. 26, album sales comprise 177,000, TEA units comprise 35,000 and SEA units comprise 30,000 (equating to 48.56 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs).
The Be album is a mostly-Korean-language release, but does feature the group’s first all-English song, “Dynamite.” The track marked the act’s first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated Sept. 5. It also recently garnered the group its first Grammy Award nomination, for best pop duo/group performance. Be is the 11th mostly non-English album to hit No. 1. Of the 11 leaders that were recorded mostly in a language other than English, five have been by BTS.
The album’s first week is the largest for an album by a group, both in terms of equivalent album units and album sales, since BTS’ own last No. 1 album, Map of the Soul: 7, earned 422,000 units in its first week, of which 347,000 were in album sales (chart dated March 7).
However, unlike many other high-selling albums that benefit from an array of available formats and exclusive or limited editions, Be was only available in two formats. It was issued as a standard digital album that cost about $9 and a pricey CD edition that retailed for around $50. (Big Hit has termed the CD edition a “deluxe” package, though there is no traditional standard CD available.)
Even BTS’ last No. 1, Map of the Soul: 7, was issued in five editions – a standard digital album and four collectible CD packages (each selling for around $25).
Be’s rollout is reminiscent of the arrival of Tool’s Fear Inoculum, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 dated Sept. 14, 2019, with 270,000 equivalent album units – of which 240,000 were in album sales. The album was initially only sold in two formats: a digital download and a limited-edition CD that cost around $45-50, and came with a 4-inch HD screen, video footage, a speaker and a 36-page booklet.
While the $50 BTS Be deluxe CD doesn’t have any technology housed in its package, it does contain paper goods such as a photobook, photocards, postcards and a poster.
BTS is the first group to land two No. 1 albums in 2020, and the second act overall, following rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again (with 38 Baby 2 and Top).
In total, BTS has now led the Billboard 200 five times. Before Be and Map of the Soul: 7, there was Map of the Soul: Persona (April 27, 2019), Love Yourself: Answer (Sept. 8, 2018) and Love Yourself: Tear (June 2, 2018).
In turn, BTS has achieved its five No. 1 albums in just a little over two years and six months. The last act to accumulate five No. 1s quicker was Future, who logged his first five leaders in just over one year and seven months (from DS2 on Aug. 8, 2015, through HNDRXX on March 18, 2017). The last group to tally five No. 1s faster than BTS was The Beatles, who strung together five No. 1s in just under two years and five months with Yesterday and Today (July 30, 1966) and its self-titled album (often referred to as the White Album, Dec. 28, 1968). And finally, the last group to achieve its first five No. 1s faster than BTS was, again, The Beatles. The Fab Four clocked its first five No. 1s in just under one year and five months, between Meet the Beatles! (Feb. 15, 1964) and Beatles VI (July 10, 1965).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Megan Thee Stallion’s debut full-length album Good News starts with 100,500 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 82,500 comprise SEA units (equaling 115.85 million on-demand streams of the set’s songs), 16,000 comprise album sales and a little over 2,000 comprise TEA units. Good News is also the most streamed album of the week.
The 17-track Good News set follows a pair of top 10s from Megan Thee Stallion with the nine-track EP Suga (No. 7; May 16, 2020) and the mixtape Fever (No. 10; June 1, 2019).
The new album includes the remix version of the No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Savage,” featuring Beyoncé. The original version of “Savage” was included on Suga.
Ariana Grande’s former No. 1 Positions rises 4-3 on the new Billboard 200 with 61,000 equivalent album units earned (down 18%), Pop Smoke’s former leader Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon bumps up a notch to No. 4 with 52,000 units (down 3%) and Future and Lil Uzi Vert’s Pluto x Baby Pluto falls 2-5 in its second week with 46,000 units (down 56%).
Taylor Swift’s former No. 1 Folklore charges back into the top 10, rising 29-6, after the set’s vinyl edition was released to Target stores during the tracking week, her Disney+ special Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions premiered on Nov. 25 and a new digital deluxe edition of the album was released.
Folklore earned 44,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Nov. 26 (up 120%), with 23,000 of that sum in album sales (up 452%). Vinyl LP sales comprise 15,000 of that sales figure (up 16,476%). Folklore’s digital album sales also increased, rising to 4,000 for the week (up 425%). A new deluxe edition of the album was issued to digital retailers on Nov. 25 that includes live versions of each of the album’s tracks (as heard in the Disney+ special Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions).
Luke Combs’ former No. 1 What You See Is What You Get falls 6-7 with 41,000 equivalent album units (down 2%), Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over descends 3-8 with 37,000 units (down 64%) and Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die dips 7-9 with 36,000 units (down 2%).
Carrie Underwood’s holiday album My Gift jumps back into the top 10, rising 25-10 with 35,000 equivalent album units earned (up 63%). The album debuted at No. 8 on the Oct. 10-dated chart, and then spent the next four weeks outside the top 50. However, it vaulted 150-39 on the Nov. 14 chart, and then rose 29-25-10 in the next three weeks, as Thanksgiving (and the heart of the Christmas season) approached.
With Starting Over, What You See Is What You Get and My Gift all in the top 10 together, it’s the first time in nearly three years that three albums which also appear on the Top Country Albums chart have all been in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 concurrently. It last happened on the Jan. 3, 2018-dated chart, when Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country, Garth Brooks’ The Anthology: Part I, The First Five Years and Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 2 were Nos. 8-10, respectively.