Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ Earns the Biggest Billboard Debut of 2017


The music industry may be a streaming world these days, but Billboard’s latest album chart proves that good old-fashioned downloading counts a good deal too.

To no one’s surprise, Kendrick Lamar soared to No. 1 with his latest release, “DAMN.” (Interscope). The new album had the equivalent of 603,000 sales in the United States, according to Nielsen. That made it the biggest debut of the year, and the best week for any album since Drake’s “Views” came out a year ago with just over 1 million sales.

But in terms of streams alone — the latest and most important battleground of digital music — Mr. Lamar did not quite have this year’s best. Songs from “DAMN.” were listened to a total of 341 million times last week on services like Spotify and Apple Music, which was considerably less than the 385 million Drake had last month for the opening of his playlist More Life.”

What put Mr. Lamar ahead was the number of people who bought copies of the full album. “DAMN.” sold 353,000 copies as a complete unit, while “More Life” opened with just 225,000. According to the new rules of cross-format number crunching that now determine chart positions, that gave “DAMN.” the advantage in overall “equivalent units.”Perhaps anticipating this victory lap, Mr. Lamar on Monday announced North American tour dates for July and August, with a show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on July 20.

Also on the album chart this week, John Mayer opened at No. 2 with 120,000 sales and nearly 14 million streams of “The Search for Everything” (Columbia), while Drake’s “More Life” (Republic) is No. 3 and Ed Sheeran’s “÷” (Atlantic) is No. 4. The Chainsmokers’ “Memories … Do Not Open” (Columbia), last week’s best seller, falls to No. 5.

This article originally appeared on NY Times