Blackpink debut at top spot on both US and UK charts with Born Pink album

Members of Blackpink arrive at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey on Aug 28, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - It may be a streaming world, but getting to No. 1 on the Billboard album chart these days often comes down to selling a lot of vinyl LPs or even those semi-passe silver data platters known as CDs.

Back in April, American rapper Tyler, the Creator catapulted 119 spots to the top when his album Call Me If You Get Lost came out on vinyl nearly a year after its initial release.

The following month, English singer Harry Styles’ Harry’s House had solid streaming numbers but relied on vinyl to nab the year’s still-biggest opening. And in June, K-pop kings BTS landed at No. 1 with mediocre streams but big CD sales of a compilation album, Proof.

This week, another K-pop group, Blackpink, rockets to the top with physical sales.

Born Pink, the quartet’s second full-length studio album, becomes its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with the equivalent of 102,000 sales in the United States, according to the tracking service Luminate.

That total includes 37 million streams – a modest sum, representing only about a quarter of the group’s composite sales number for the week. The rest is attributed to old-fashioned purchases of Born Pink as a compete unit, including 64,000 made for the 17 different configurations of the album on CD.

As Billboard noted, many of these CD editions came in collectible packages – with alternative covers, autographs and other goodies like postcards and stickers – that were initially priced as high as US$50 (S$72), but were discounted over the course of last week.

Blackpink also sold a “signed digital album” through its website for US$4.99, and marked its standard downloadable album down to US$3.99.

According to Billboard, Born Pink is the first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 by a female group since American girl group Danity Kane’s second album, Welcome To The Dollhouse, debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated April 5, 2008.

K-pop news portal Allkpop said Blackpink are also the first female group to simultaneously debut at No. 1 on the American and British albums charts since American girl group Destiny’s Child in 2001.

Born Pink has also overtaken Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti, the streaming behemoth that has occupied the top slot on and off for 11 weeks. In its 20th week on the chart, his album falls to No. 2 with the equivalent of 93,000 sales, mostly from streams.

Another K-pop group, NCT 127, opens at No. 3 this week with 2 Baddies; most of its 58,500 equivalent sales were for CDs, with the album’s 12 tracks garnering fewer than 4 million streams.

By comparison, the 23-track Verano has been averaging 130 to 140 million clicks a week for the past couple of months. NYTIMES

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