Image: Justin Bieber performs “Where Are U Now” during the 2015 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Canadian pop star Justin Bieber edged out British boy band One Direction in a battle to the top of the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart on Monday, but his reign will be short-lived as British singer Adele looks to break records with her new release.
“Purpose,” the fourth studio album by Bieber, sold 520,000 albums, 602,000 songs and was streamed 100 million times in its first week, totalling 649,000 units, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.
It is Bieber’s best-selling debut in his career so far. One Direction’s “Made in the A.M.” sold 459,000 units in its first week, landing at No. 2.
Adele’s “25,” released on Friday, won’t officially enter the Billboard charts until next week, but Billboard said Saturday that the album sold more than 900,000 copies on Apple Inc’s iTunes store in its first day.
The current first week U.S. sales record is held by boy band NSync’s 2000 record “No Strings Attached,” which opened with 2.4 million copies.
On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online download sales, Adele’s heartbreak ballad “Hello” held onto the top spot with another 327,000 copies sold this week.
As album sales have dropped drastically due to the rise in online streaming, it’s increasingly rare for an artist to top 1 million copies sold in the first week. Taylor Swift was the last artist to achieve the milestone, with her “1989” album opening with 1.29 million last year.
Both Bieber and One Direction set new streaming records on Spotify last week with their latest albums.
The boy band came away the big winners at the American Music Awards on Sunday and was one of the night’s top performances, as well as Bieber.
Eight new albums debuted in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart. Rapper Logic’s “Incredible True Story” debuted at No. 3, rapper Jeezy’s “Church In These Streets” at No. 4 and country artist Chris Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over” at No. 5.
Progressive rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Letters from the Labyrinth” debuted at No. 7, Canadian R&B singer Alessia Cara’s “Know-It-All” came in at No. 9 and gospel musician Kirk Franklin’s “Losing My Religion” entered at No. 10.
Last week’s chart-topper, “Traveller” by country artist Chris Stapleton, dropped to No. 6 this week.
The Billboard 200 chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, editing by Jill Serjeant and Andrew Hay)
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