Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods had a less-than-super opening week, despite his high-profile performance at this year’s Super Bowl. It moved 293K “equivalent units” in the U.S., which includes 242K in traditional album sales. (The “equivalent units” figure also takes into account digital track sales and streaming activity.) This is way down from Timberlake’s 2013 album, The 20/20 Experience, which sold 968K in traditional album sales in its first week. A Part 2 to that album, released six months later, sold 350K in traditional album sales. (Billboard introduced the “equivalent unit” concept in late 2014.)
Timberlake’s first two solo albums also got off to faster starts. Justified sold 439K copies in its first week in 2002. FutureSex/LoveSounds sold 684K in its first week in 2006. That gives Man of the Woods the slimmest first-week sales tally for any of Timberlake’s solo albums.
Timberlake’s sales decline is surprising because he had the biggest platform in the world to promote the album — the halftime show at Super Bowl LII. A total of 103.4 million people watched the Super Bowl this year. Moreover, Timberlake timed his album release to take maximum advantage of that appearance. Man of the Woods came out two days before the big show, and he opened his performance with the album’s lead single, “Filthy.” By contrast, last year’s headliner, Lady Gaga, performed more than three months after the release of her album Joanne. However, Gaga’s halftime show was widely praised, while Timberlake’s received mixed-to-scathing reviews.
Album sales have been dropping for years, but some artists have been able to defy the downward trend. In the past year, five albums posted larger first-week “equivalent units” totals than Timberlake did this week — Taylor Swift’s Reputation (1,238,000), Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. (603K), Drake’s More Life (505K), Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (451K), and P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma (408K). In fairness, none of those acts has been a superstar attraction as long as Timberlake has. With NSync, he first cracked the top five on the Billboard 200 in September 1998, giving him a nearly 20-year span of top five albums.
Just two years ago, Timberlake walked off with the year’s best-selling single, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Digital sales to date: 3,295,000.) If Timberlake had a monster pop hit like “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” now, it would have doubtless boosted sales of the new album. The first single from the album, the above-mentioned “Filthy,” entered the Hot 100 at No. 9 but faded fast. The second, “Supplies,” never got off the ground (No. 71). The third, “Say Something” (featuring Chris Stapleton), debuted at No. 9 last week and, though it falls out of the top 10 this week, shows signs of being a more meaningful long-term hit.
Migos’s Culture II dips from No. 1 to No. 2 in its second week.
The Greatest Showman soundtrack dips from No. 2 to No. 3 in its ninth week. It spent two weeks at No. 1. The album logs its seventh week at No. 1 on Top Soundtracks. It spends its fifth week at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart.
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ inches up from No. 5 to No. 4 in its 49th week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.
Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic dips from No. 4 to No. 5 in its 64th week. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2.
Post Malone’s Stoney rebounds from No. 8 to No. 6 in its 61st week. The album peaked at No. 4.
Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. dips from No. 6 to No. 7 in its 43rd week. The album spent four weeks at No. 1.
Camila Cabello’s Camila dips from No. 7 to No. 8 in its fourth week. The album debuted at No. 1.
Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2 rebounds from No. 12 to No. 9 in its 24th week. The album debuted at No. 1.
Now 65 debuts at No. 10. It’s the 69th Now volume to crack the top 10. That tally includes 63 of the 65 regular, numbered volumes plus six themed albums.
Above & Beyond’s Common Ground plummets from No. 3 completely off the Billboard 200. Two other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Khalid’s American Teen drops from No. 9 to No. 11, and Imagine Dragons’ Evolve drops from No. 10 to No. 13.
Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 2 drops from No. 18 to No. 23 in its 10th week. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2. The album logs its third week at No. 1 on Top Country Albums. Stapleton has three of the top five albums on the country chart this week. He made a clean sweep of the top three positions last week. Just two other artists have held down the top three spots on the country album chart in the same week — Garth Brooks for 11 weeks in 1992, and Charlie Rich for eight weeks in 1974. Both of those artists went on to win the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year in those years. Will Stapleton follow suit? He has been nominated the last two years, but lost to Brooks both times. I think he’ll do it this year. You read it here first.
Ed Sheeran’s x inches up from No. 49 to No. 48 in its 190th chart week. The album debuted at No. 1. The album returns to No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums, displacing Drake’s Take Care. This is its ninth week on top.
The Notorious B.I.G.’s Greatest Hits, which debuted at No. 1 in March 2007, tops the 1 million mark in traditional album sales this week.
Coming Chart Watch attractions: Black Panther The Album, Music From and Inspired By is on track to debut at No. 1 next week. The 50 Shades Freed soundtrack will open around No. 5.
Drake’s “God’s Plan,” which entered the Hot 100 at No. 1 two weeks ago, sits tight in its third week. “God’s Plan” is the first song to spend its first three weeks at No. 1 since Adele’s “Hello” spent its first 10 weeks on top in 2015-2016. “God’s Plan” posted 79.6 million U.S. streams this week. It’s the first song to have at least 75 million U.S. streams for three weeks, according to Nielsen Music.
“God’s Plan” sold 55K digital copies this week, which allows it to return to No. 1 on Top Digital Songs. This is its second week on top of that chart. It also logs its third week at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and on the Official U.K. Singles Chart.
Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” holds at No. 2 in its 24th week. The song logged six weeks at No. 1.
Bruno Mars & Cardi B’s “Finesse” holds at No. 3 in its sixth week. It’s vying to become Mars’s eighth No. 1 hit; Cardi B’s second.
Camila Cabello’s “Havana” (featuring Young Thug) holds at No. 4 in its 26th week. The song reached No. 1.
Post Malone’s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) holds at No. 5 in its 21st week. The song has been in the top five the entire time. It spent eight weeks at No. 1. The song tops the 1 million mark in digital songs this week. It’s Post’s second million-seller. “Congratulations” (featuring Quavo) is up to 1,030,000.
Dua Lipa’s stylish “New Rules” inches up from No. 7 to No. 6 in its 28th week. It’s the week’s highest-ranking song that showed upward movement. The song spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart last August.
“Pray for Me” by the Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar is the week’s highest new entry at No. 7. It’s the Weeknd’s seventh top 10 hit; Lamar’s sixth. The song is from Blank Panther The Album, Music From and Inspired By. The superhero film Black Panther premieres this Friday (Feb. 16). This is the second time the Weeknd has made the top 10 with a movie song. “Earned It” was from Fifty Shades of Grey.
“MotorSport” by Migos, Nicki Minaj & Cardi B drops out of the top 10 this week. But Migos replace themselves in the top 10 with “Stir Fry,” another song from its former chart-topping album. “Stir Fry” jumps from No. 12 to No. 8 in its seventh week. It’s the trio’s third top 10 hit.
“Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line jumps from No. 11 to No. 9 in its 16th week. Rexha first cracked the top 10 as a featured artist on David Guetta’s “Hey Mama” (which also featured Nicki Minaj and Afrojack; No. 8 in 2015). She returned to the top 10 as a co-lead artist with G-Eazy on “Me, Myself & I” (No. 7 in 2016). “Meant to Be” is Florida Georgia Line’s second top 10 hit, following “Cruise” (featuring Nelly; No. 4 in 2013). Florida Georgia Line are the first country duo to land two top 10 hits on the Hot 100.
“Meant to Be” holds at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs for the 11th consecutive week.
Halsey’s “Bad at Love” drops from No. 6 to No. 10 in its 23rd week. The song has climbed as high as No. 5.
Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” drops out of the top 10 this week. But this next item should make the band’s fans feel better: Imagine Dragons are the first act with three songs that have each spent a full year on the Hot 100. The group’s recent hit “Believer” is currently in its 53rd chart week. “Demons” spent 61 weeks on the chart in 2013-14. “Radioactive” spent a record 87 weeks on the chart from 2012-14. Six acts are tied with two songs that have each charted for at least 52 weeks: The Chainsmokers (“Don’t Let Me Down,” featuring Daya, and “Closer,” featuring Halsey), Faith Hill (“Breathe,” “The Way You Love Me”), Lifehouse (“Hanging By a Moment,” “You and Me”), Bruno Mars (Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!,” “That’s What I Like”), Ed Sheeran (“Thinking Out Loud” and “Shape of You”), and Train (“Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and “Hey, Soul Sister”).
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