Taylor Swift’s ’1989′ Back on Top of Overhauled Album Chart

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 12.03.14 in News

Whatever the methodology, where there are charts in 2014, Taylor Swift has a way of coming out at No. 1.

This week’s Billboard 200 is the album chart’s first to count streaming and digital track sales. Swift’s 1989 slipped from its throne last week, but now it’s back on top for a fourth week out of five weeks on the rankings.

The Joni Mitchell-nixed pop/country crossover star’s return came on the strength of 339,000 — ahem — “total album equivalent units” in the week that ended November 30. With 281K old-fashioned album sales, 1989 is also No. 1 on the new Top Album Sales chart, which still ranks album based solely on sales. (Meanwhile, 1989‘s “Blank Space” recently succeeded the same album’s “Shake It Off” at No. 1 on the Hot 100; that makes Swift the first female artist ever to replace herself at the top of that chart, as Slate‘s Chris Molanphy explains.)

Eminem courted controversy ahead of his Shady XV compilation, invoking Ray Rice in a lyric about punching Lana Del Rey, but it wasn’t enough for second place. Instead, a capella group Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me rose to No.2 on both the Billboard 200 and Top Album Sales charts (227K units, 217K albums sold). Slim Shady’s two-disc set of greatest hits and new material debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 3 (148K, 138K). (See Madeleine Holden’s essay, Eminem: You’re Too Old, Let Go, It’s Over.)

Another notable entry to the top 10 comes courtesy of Beyoncé. Her Beyoncé: More Only EP, which consists of only the new songs, remixes and videos included in last week’s Beyoncé Platinum Edition Box Set, bows at No. 8 (71K), though only No. 17 on the Top Album Sales chart (43K). Last year’s Beyoncé, finally released on Spotify, also climbed the charts (No. 39 with 25K on the Billboard 200; No. 37 with 22K on Top Album Sales).

The most obvious gainer from the new chart rules was Ariana Grande‘s My Everything, as predicted. The “Santa Tell Me” singer’s second album jumped to No. 7 on the Billboard 200 (72K) but rose no further than No. 16 (47K) on Top Album Sales. Now if only she can dodge Victoria’s Secret angels.

Aside from Eminem and Beyoncé, the boss of the top 10′s other new arrival was none other than Rick Ross. The Florida rapper’s Hood Billionaire launched at No. 6 on both charts (79K, 74K).  It’s his seventh straight top 10 album, and second this year alone after Mastermind.

For those counting at home, that doesn’t add up to 10 albums, so here’s the rest of the top tier: One Direction‘s Four, which bumped Swift last week in its chart debut, fell to No. 4 (125K, 105K); Sam Smith‘s long-lived In the Lonely Hour jumped to No. 5 (123K, 97K); the apparently immortal Frozen soundtrack ascended to No. 9 (71K), and Maroon 5‘s V, helped by steep holiday discounts, round out the top 10 (68K).

That last one was $6.99 on iTunes, so we can’t blame its chart placement on streaming alone.