On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Sept. 1), Ariana Grande grabbed her third No. 1, as Sweetener started atop the list. The effort, which is her fourth full-length studio album, bows in the penthouse with 231,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Aug. 23, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the rest of the Billboard 200:
— Eagles, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 – No. 60 — The album jumps up the list (125-60) following news of the title being certified 38-times platinum in the U.S. by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) — and surpassing Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the highest-certified album of all time.
Their Greatest Hits has now earned 38 million album units in the U.S., according to the RIAA. Each platinum certification is equal to 1 million album units. Their Greatest Hits was re-certified on Aug. 20, bringing its certification up from 29 million to 38 million.
As for Thriller, it was last certified on Feb. 16, 2017, when it was upgraded from 32 million to 33 million.
For the RIAA, one album unit is equal to one album sale, or 10 tracks sold from an album, or 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video streams from an album. The RIAA revamped its Gold & Platinum Awards Program on Feb. 1, 2016, growing from a pure album sales certification process to one that includes tracks and streams. (For more information about the Awards Program, visit the RIAA website.)
The RIAA and Nielsen Music differ in how they tabulate album units. For Nielsen Music, and thus Billboard’s album consumption charts (as Nielsen’s data powers Billboard’s album charts), one equivalent album unit is equal to one traditional album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 1,250 paid subscription on-demand audio song streams from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported on-demand audio song streams from an album.
Back on the Billboard 200, Their Greatest Hits earned 10,000 units in the week ending Aug. 23 (up 55 percent) according to Nielsen Music, with 4,000 of that sum coming from traditional album sales (up 250 percent).
— Michael Jackson, Thriller – No. 135 — And, as for the King of Pop, his former No. 1 album Thriller jumps back onto the tally at No. 135 — its first visit to the list since May 19, and highest rank since April 7 (when it also placed at No. 135). Thriller earned 7,000 units in the week ending Aug. 23 (up 330 percent), with 2,000 of that sum from traditional album sales (up 30 percent).
— Original Broadway Cast Recording, Hamilton: An American Musical – No. 30 — As the set spends its 152nd week on the tally, it logs the third-longest run on the list among cast albums in the last 50 years. It steps past the original Broadway Cast Recording of Hair, which garnered 151 weeks on the list between 1968 and 1971. Only two albums have spent more time on the chart in the past 50 years than Hamilton: the highlights edition of the original London cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera (331 weeks between 1990 and 1996) and the full original London cast recording of Phantom (255 weeks between 1987 and 1993).
— Sam Hunt, Montevallo – No. 119 — The album nabs its 200th consecutive week on the list, dating back to its debut frame on the list dated Nov. 15, 2014, where the set bowed and peaked at No. 3. Montevallo is just the ninth country album to log at least 200 weeks on the Billboard 200. The others: Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation (294 weeks), Taylor Swift’s self-titled album (275), Florida Georgia Line’s Here’s to the Good Times (259), Swift’s Fearless (255), Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party (232), Garth Brooks’ No Fences (224) and his self-titled effort (224), and Bryan’s Tailgates and Tanlines (214).
— Neil Diamond, Hot August Night III: Recorded Live at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles – No. 144 — The pop icon earns his 56th entry on the chart, as his new live album starts at No. 144 (6,000 units; nearly all from traditional album sales). Hot August Night III is Diamond’s fourth entry in his series of Hot August Night live albums, which started with 1972’s Hot August Night. The first set peaked at No. 5 on the chart dated Feb. 17, 1973 and spent 78 weeks on the list. He then followed it with Hot August Night II (No. 59; Jan. 9, 1988), Hot August Night/NYC: Live From Madison Square Garden (No. 2; Aug. 29, 2009) and the new Hot August Night III.