Paul McCartney’s new studio album McCartney III debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart (dated Jan. 2, 2021) with the biggest sales week for a rock album by a solo artist since McCartney’s last studio set, Egypt Station, entered atop the list over two years ago.
Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The Album Sales chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
Pure album sales were the measurement solely utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units.
For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram. The new Jan. 2, 2021-dated chart (where McCartney III bows at to No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on Dec. 29.
McCartney III sold 104,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending Dec. 24, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The last solo rock album to log a larger sales week was McCartney’s own Egypt Station, which opened at No. 1 on the list dated Sept. 22, 2018 with 147,000 copies sold. (Egypt Station’s sales — like many other albums — were bolstered by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer, as well as merchandise/album bundles, both of which ceased to count towards chart sales as of Oct. 9.)
McCartney III and Egypt Station are McCartney’s two No. 1s on the Top Album Sales chart, which launched May 25, 1991.
McCartney III’s robust sales were aided by its availability across many CD and vinyl LP formats, including editions with alternative cover art or colored vinyl. The album sold 53,000 copies on CD; nearly 32,000 on vinyl LP, 18,000 as a digital download and 1,000 on cassette.
The album was available in more than 10 vinyl variants, which combined to sell nearly 32,000 copies in its first week – the third-largest sales week for a vinyl album since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. Only the debut weeks of Jack White’s Lazaretto (40,000) and Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy (34,000) were larger.
McCartney III naturally also premieres at No. 1 on the weekly Vinyl Albums chart, which ranks the top-selling vinyl LPs of the week.
The new album was also a hot seller at independent record stores, with 16,000 copies sold across all its available formats at indie stores. It bows at No. 1 on the Tastemaker Albums chart, which ranks the week’s top-selling albums at indie music stores. (Both charts will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on Dec. 29.)
As for the rest of the top 10 on the latest Top Album Sales chart, Taylor Swift’s Evermore falls 1-2 in its third week with 102,000 copies sold (down 34%), while Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By re-enters at No. 3 with 33,000 sold (after the January 2020 release was reissued on Dec. 18 with 16 additional tracks).
Swift’s former No. 1 Folklore dips 2-4 with 32,500 sold (down 69%), NCT’s Resonance, Pt. 1 runs 93-5 after the album was reissued on Dec. 18 with bonus tracks, Carrie Underwood’s My Gift drops 3-6 with 27,000 sold (up 5%) and Chris Stapleton’s Starting Over climbs 8-7 with 22,000 (up 29%).
The top 10 is rounded out by three former No. 1s: AC/DC’s Power Up (7-8 with just under 22,000 sold; up 18%), BTS’ Be (a non-mover at No. 9 with 21,000; up 28%) and Harry Styles’ Fine Line (4-10 with 20,500; down 18%).