For her last two solo albums, Beyoncé turned the music business on its head by rewriting the standard marketing playbook. “Beyoncé” (2013) came without warning and had a music video for every song; for “Lemonade” (2016), she teamed with HBO for an hourlong film. Each went straight to No. 1 and became an instant pop-culture moment.
For her latest, “Renaissance,” Beyoncé, now 40, took a more conventional route, sending a single to radio stations weeks ahead of time and taking advance orders for CDs and vinyl (though she released no music videos). The album leaked online two days early — the kind of breach that once upon a time could have sunk a new release.
But “Renaissance” opens at No. 1 on the Billboard chart with the equivalent of 332,000 sales in the United States, slightly beating early predictions and notching the second-highest debut of the year, behind Harry Styles’s “Harry’s House.”
Beyoncé also dominates the Hot 100 this week, as “Break My Soul” rises five spots to No. 1, becoming her first song to top Billboard’s flagship singles chart since “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” in late 2008 and early 2009.
The success of “Renaissance,” her seventh solo studio LP — every one of them, beginning with “Dangerously in Love” (2003), has gone to No. 1 — affirms Beyoncé’s status as a chart-topping megastar. Her opening-week total bests those of a string of recent albums by younger, streaming-heavy stars like Drake (204,000), Kendrick Lamar (295,000) and Post Malone (121,000). But it was nowhere near the total for “Harry’s House,” which started with 521,000, thanks in part to record-breaking vinyl sales. (Now in its 11th week out, “Harry’s House” is in fifth place on the album chart.)
The 332,000 “equivalent album units” for “Renaissance” includes 179 million streams and 190,000 copies sold as complete packages, including 121,000 on CD and 26,000 on vinyl, according to Luminate, the tracking service that supplies the data behind Billboard’s charts. “Lemonade” arrived with the equivalent of 485,000 sales, and “Everything Is Love” (2018), Beyoncé’s joint album with Jay-Z, arrived at No. 2 with 123,000.
Also this week, “Un Verano Sin Ti,” by the Puerto Rican streaming king Bad Bunny, drops to No. 2 after holding the top spot for the last five weeks straight. Counting two earlier peaks since it came out in May, “Verano” has logged seven times in the top spot.
The K-pop boy band Ateez opens at No. 3 with its latest mini-album, “The World EP.1: Movement,” driven largely by CD sales. Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album,” a steady hit since early last year, is No. 4.
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