Blackberry Smoke is once again #1 in country, at least when you consider pure album sales. Their most recent album Find A Light released on April 6th sold more cohesive records last week than any other country release according to the Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, and also sold enough to come in at #7 total considering album sales across all genres.
This is the 3rd consecutive album for Blackberry Smoke to sell more than anyone else in country during the debut week. Their February 2015 record Holding All The Roses was the first independently-released record to hit #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart in modern history. Like An Arrow released in October of 2016 also scored a #1. The only reason Find A Light didn’t hit #1 on the Country Albums Chart this time is now streaming equivalents work heavily into the equation, putting independent artists whose fans are more likely to buy physical copies at a disadvantage.
Kane Brown’s self-titled album officially came in at #1 this week on the Billboard Country Albums chart, with Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour also benefiting from streaming and coming in at #2. Strictly in album sales, Musgraves is #15 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, and Kane Brown is all the way at #30. Brown has benefited his entire career from favorable playlist placements, which boost his streaming numbers.
Blackberry Smoke’s Find A Light sold 16,000 equivalent albums during its debut week, which is about in line with their last two records which sold 18,000 and 19,000 respectively upon debut. The numbers are also good enough to put Find A Light at #2 on the Billboard Americana/Folk chart, just behind Musgraves and Golden Hour. Find a Light also comes in at #6 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart.
The performance of Find A Light underscores how the weighing of streaming equivalents will put certain independent artists and older artists at a disadvantage in the charts in the future due to their reliance on physical sales and downloads. Sales and downloads generally result in more revenue for bands, but it’s also not doing a disservice to your favorite band to stream the record once you’ve purchased the physical product. That way they can benefit from the streaming data as well.
In other album sales news, John Prine is blowing away all expectations at the moment and creating buzz for next week’s album charts. He will certainly be beat by Jason Aldean’s newest record Rearview Town on the Country Albums chart, but early estimates have Prine selling over 40,000 albums with his first collection of all new original songs in 13 years, The Tree of Forgiveness. If the numbers maintain, they will be good enough for #2 in country, and #3 overall. Stay tuned.