Plus: Jimmy Buffett heading for highest-charting album in over 15 years.
Lady Gaga is set for her sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, according to industry forecasters. Prognosticators suggest the music superstar’s latest effort, Chromatica, could launch atop next week’s tally with over 250,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending June 4.
Chromatica was released on May 29 via Interscope Records and led by the singles “Stupid Love” and “Rain On Me,” with Ariana Grande. The former debuted and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March, and the latter opened at No. 1 on the chart date June 6.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which comprises traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the June 13-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Chromatica may debut at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s website on Sunday, June 7.
If Chromatica starts with 250,000 units, it would stand among the top five biggest weeks of 2020 for an album. So far, the only larger weeks were earned by the debut frames of The Weeknd’s After Hours (444,000 units earned, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data), BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 (422,000), Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake (288,000) and Gaga’s Interscope labelmate Eminem, with Music to Be Murdered By (279,000).
Of Chromatica’s possible 250,000-plus units, album sales may comprise 200,000, with most of the rest generated by streaming activity. Chromatica will benefit from sturdy sales via retailers like iTunes, Amazon and Target (which carries an exclusive deluxe edition of the album on CD). In addition, Chromatica is hauling in sales from dozens of merchandise/album bundles sold via her official webstore, and a concert ticket/album sale offer with her three upcoming U.S. stadium shows scheduled for August.
Gaga deactivated her webstore on Tuesday morning, and in its place, left a message with her thoughts about the death of George Floyd and how “right now is a critical time for the black community to be supported by all other communities so we can put a stop to something that is intrinsically wrong by the grace of God or whatever creator you do or do not believe in.” As of 11 a.m. PT on Wednesday, the store had not returned. In addition, Gaga ceased social media promotion of the album through her official accounts after June 1.
Lady Gaga previously hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the A Star Is Born soundtrack (with Bradley Cooper, in 2018), Joanne (2016), Cheek to Cheek (with Tony Bennett, 2014), Artpop (2013) and Born This Way (2011).
Elsewhere on next week’s Billboard 200, watch for Jimmy Buffett’s new Life on the Flip Side to likely debut in the top three with perhaps over 65,000 equivalent album units earned. Most of that sum will be driven by album sales, helped in large part by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with a slate of upcoming shows. (The bundle offer was originally attached to a string of dates that were meant to run from May 16 through Oct. 15, 2020. Some of those shows were ultimately cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, while the remaining shows were postponed and rescheduled to July 10 through Sept. 2, 2021. Only the postponed and rescheduled shows are part of the ticket bundle offer which contributes to the chart total.)
Buffett was last in the top three in 2014, when License to Chill debuted at No. 1, marking the singer-songwriter’s first leader on the tally. Buffett made his debut on the Billboard 200 back in 1974 with Living and Dying in 3/4 Time. Life on the Flip Side will mark Buffett’s 40th charting album.
After Gaga and Buffett’s latest releases, the next-biggest debuts on the forthcoming chart will likely be Anuel AA’s Emmanuel (35,000-plus units), Lil Yachty’s Lil Boat 3 (over 30,000), Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist’s Alfredo (around 30,000) and Kygo’s Golden Hour (over 25,000).
Also in the mix among this week’s new releases is Run the Jewels’ RTJ4, which was released early via digital retailers and streamers on June 3 – instead of on June 5. It was also issued as a free download via the duo’s official website, and for sale in an array of merchandise/album bundles. While it’s too early to make a firm forecast for the album’s debut, considering it’s been out for only one day, RTJ4 could earn north of 25,000 units from only two days of activity.