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A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie Reaches No. 1 With a Dubious Distinction

Category: Entertainment,Music

How many albums do you need to sell to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s chart? This week, the number is 823 — along with 83 million streams, that is.

Those are the numbers for “Hoodie SZN” (Highbridge/Atlantic), by the New York rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, the latest and most extreme example of the disparity that now exists in the music industry between the still-rapid growth of streaming and the cratering business of old-fashioned album sales.

Billboard and Nielsen credit “Hoodie SZN” with the equivalent of 58,000 sales in the United States last week, a number that incorporates streams and downloads of individual tracks, as well as sales of the full album. But the vast majority of that composite number is from streaming — so much so that the sales number represents a new low on the chart.

The 823 copies of “Hoodie SZN” that were sold last week — all as downloads, since that title has not been released on any physical formats — is the least number of copies that any album has sold in the week it went to No. 1. It tops a record set just the week before by 21 Savage’s “I Am > I Was,” which sold 3,481 copies and had 84 million streams.

These numbers reflect a business that has become so dominated by streaming that CD sales are all but disappearing, except with a handful of superstars like Taylor Swift and Adele, or when they are bundled with concert tickets.

The Recording Industry Association of America reported that for the first half of 2018 (the most recent figures it has published), streaming represented 75 percent of all retail sales revenue in the United States, while physical formats were just 10 percent. During those six months, only 18.6 million CDs were sold in the United States, a decline of 47 percent from the first half of 2017.

Before Billboard began to incorporate streaming numbers in its album chart, in 2014, the lowest sales number for a No. 1 album was 40,478, set by Amos Lee’s “Mission Bell” in February 2011.

The rest of this week’s Top 10 is, for the most part, just slightly reshuffled from the week before. 21 Savage’s “I Am > I Was” fell to No. 2, the “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” soundtrack is No. 3, Meek Mill’s “Championships” is No. 4, and Post Malone’s “Beerbongs & Bentleys” is in fifth place.

After the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won best drama at the Golden Globes, Queen’s “Platinum Collection” rose 127 spots to No. 10.


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