American royalty has a lock on the Billboard album chart this week as Queen Bey and Prince continue to dominate the conversation.
In the biggest week for an album so far this year, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”(Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia) debuts at No. 1 with 485,000 album sales and 115 million streams following its premiere on HBO on April 23. Beyoncé’s first six studio albums have debuted at No. 1, a feat never before accomplished, Billboard reports.
“Lemonade,” which was accompanied by a conceptual short film, was available for its first weekend exclusively via Tidal, the music service owned by Jay Z and other artists (including Beyoncé), before spreading to other retailers for digital download. Tidal has said it would be the only place to stream the album “in perpetuity,” while a physical version will be released on Friday, May 6. Individual songs from “Lemonade” were also purchased 908,000 times for a final tally of 653,000 album equivalent units, including downloads and streams, according to Nielsen Music.
Prince, who died on April 21 at the age of 57, occupies No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 6 and No. 7 on the chart. Last week’s No. 1, “The Very Best of Prince,” a 2001 greatest hits compilation, fell one spot with 216,000 album sales and 3.6 million streams, followed by “Purple Rain,” from 1984, which sold 133,000 albums and 167,000 songs. Another Prince compilation, “The Hits: The B-Sides” is No. 4, while Rihanna’s “Anti” is No. 5, largely on the basis of 36 million streams.
In addition to Tidal’s huge streaming numbers for “Lemonade,” it is the only major streaming outlet that has Prince’s entire catalog.
The continuing battle between streaming services, which increasingly includes exclusivity windows for major artists, will once again play out on the charts next week as Drake’s fourth album (not counting mixtapes), “Views,” makes its debut. “Views” will be available exclusively on Apple Music and iTunes for its first week, with industry forecasters predicting that the album could top Beyoncé’s big week in both digital sales and streams.