Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Sour’ Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart with 2021’s Biggest Week
Plus: Twenty One Pilots and 42 Dugg debut in top 10.
Olivia Rodrigo captures the biggest week of 2021 for an album, as her debut release, Sour, opens at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 295,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending May 27, according to MRC Data.
Sour also launches with the second-largest streaming week ever for a non-R&B/hip-hop album, and second-biggest for an album of any genre by a female artist.
Sour is the singer-songwriter and actress’ debut album, and was preceded by a trio of top 10 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 earlier in 2021, including two No. 1s: “Drivers License” and “Good 4 U.” Before “Drivers License” debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in January, Rodrigo broke through with roles on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark in 2016 and Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series in 2019 – along with contributions to those shows’ soundtrack albums.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new June 5, 2021-dated chart (where Sour debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Wednesday, June 2 (one day later than usual due to the May 31 Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.). For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Sour’s 295,000 equivalent album units earned in the tracking week ending May 27, SEA units comprise 218,000 units (equaling 300.73 million on-demand streams of the album’s 11 tracks), album sales comprise 72,000 (making it the top-selling album of the week) and TEA units comprise 4,000.
Sour was released on May 21 via Geffen Records/Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA). It’s the second No. 1 for Geffen this year, following Rod Wave’s SoulFly (Alamo/Geffen/IGA, April 10-dated chart).
Biggest Week of 2021 for an Album: With 295,000 units, Sour surpasses 2021’s previous biggest-week, tallied by Taylor Swift’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version) when it bowed 291,000 units (April 24-dated chart). (Swift herself has a writing credit on Sour, as the track “1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back” samples the Swift-penned “New Year’s Day,” from Swift’s 2017 Reputation album.)
Dominant Debut: Sour captures the largest week, by units, for an act’s debut charting effort since the Billboard 200 transitioned from an album-sales only ranking to an equivalent album units-based chart on the Dec. 13, 2014 survey. It beats Cardi B’s debut studio set, and first Billboard 200 entry, Invasion of Privacy, which opened at No. 1 on the April 21, 2018 chart with 255,000 units. Rodrigo is also the first woman to see her debut charting album open at No. 1 since Invasion of Privacy.
Second-Largest Streaming Week for a Non-R&B/Hip-Hop Album: Sour starts with 218,000 SEA units – totaling 300.73 million on-demand streams of the album’s 11 tracks. That marks the second-largest streaming week for both a non-R&B/hip-hop album and second-biggest for an album by a woman of any genre. Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next continues to hold the record for the largest streaming week for a non-R&B/hip-hop set, and any album by a woman, with 307.07 million streams for its 12 tracks in its first week (chart dated Feb. 23, 2019).
Sour’s Short and Sweet Arrival: With just 11 tracks in total on Sour, the album is the shortest No. 1, by track count, since BTS’ eight-track Be debuted at No. 1 on the Dec. 5, 2020-dated chart. It’s fairly unusual for such a short album to crown the Billboard 200. Of the 27 No. 1 albums in the past 12 months (from June 6, 2020-onwards), 20 of them had at least 15 tracks in their opening week, and 11 of those had at least 20. (Some albums will garner a reissue in their first week of release, adding further tracks beyond their standard core tracklist. And many albums typically get reissued weeks and months later, with additional tracks. So far, Sour only has 11 tracks across all retailers and streamers.)
One last note on Sour’s debut: It brings just the second person named Olivia to No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Before Olivia Rodrigo, the only Olivia to top the chart was Olivia Newton-John, with two No. 1 albums in 1974 and 1975 (If You Love Me Let Me Know and Have You Never Been Mellow).
J. Cole’s The Off-Season falls 1-2 in its second week on the Billboard 200 with 92,000 equivalent album units earned (down 67%).
Twenty One Pilots score their third top five-charting Billboard 200 entry, as the rock act’s latest studio album, Scaled and Icy, bows at No. 3 with 75,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, album sales comprise 51,000, SEA units comprise 24,000 (equaling 33 million on-demand streams of the album’s tracks) and TEA units comprise less than 1,000.
Morgan Wallen’s former No. 1 Dangerous: The Double Album is a non-mover at No. 4 with 55,000 equivalent album units (up 4%), while Moneybagg Yo’s previous chart-topper A Gangsta’s Pain falls 3-5 with 49,000 units (down 12%). Pooh Shiesty’s Shiesty Season returns to the top 10, vaulting 32-6 with 35,000 units (up 97%) after the album was reissued on May 21 with four additional tracks. The album was initially released on Feb. 5 with 17 tracks and peaked at No. 3 on the March 20-dated chart.
Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia slips 5-7 on the Billboard 200 with 34,000 equivalent album units earned (down 16%).
42 Dugg scores his first Billboard 200 top 10, and second charting album, as Free Dem Boyz bows at No. 8 with 32,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, SEA units comprise 31,000 (equaling 43.56 million on-demand streams of the album’s tracks), album sales comprise 1,000 and TEA units comprise a negligible total. The album features his recent Hot 100 hit “4 Da Gang,” with Roddy Ricch.
Rounding out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 are Justin Bieber’s former leader Justice (7-9 with 31,000 equivalent album units; down 10%) and Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon (holding at No. 10 with 30,000 units; down 1%).