The Weeknd had the benefit of a Saturday Night Live appearance and a performing spot at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show to create visibility for, Starboy, his third studio album with Republic Records. According to data from Billboard, The Weeknd claimed the No. 1 album in the country with first week sales of 348,000 equivalent album units. Of the Weeknd’s overall numbers, 209,000 were in traditional album sales.
The Weeknd took home Grammy awards for Best R&B Performance and Best Urban Contemporary Album with 2015’s Beauty Behind The Madness. And the first week numbers fall short of HitsDailyDouble.com’s prediction of 366,000 sales plus streaming numbers in a report released Dec. 2.
Billboard notes that The Weeknd's newest set is the third largest debut of 2016 behind Drake's VIEWS and Beyoncé's LEMONADE. Starboy also got a bump from streaming equivalent album units, as 117,000 of its total unit sum were driven by streaming units, which equals 175.2 million streams of Starboy's songs in the week. The FADER reported the album accumulated 400 million global streams during its first week of release on music. That number comes from Spotify, Apple Music, and other audio streaming platforms.
Specifically on Spotify, The Weeknd broke his own record, becoming the artist who was streamed 40 million times in one day. Starboy also breaks the record for first-week streams with more than 223 million listens, as reported by The FADER. The data concludes The Weeknd is the No. 1 artist on Spotify based on monthly listeners, which was a title previously held by Drake.
Single sales of the title track and some heavy support from Top 40 radio were likely a factor, as the Daft Punk-assisted single “Starboy” peaked at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s “Hot 100” singles chart for the past 10 weeks.
This marks a bit of a repeat for the Toronto native, as Beauty Behind The Madness was also a chart-topper with SoundScan sales of roughly 412,000 during its initial week of release. The Weeknd has previously mentioned improving his overall sound when crafting Starboy.
“I think it’ll be the best-sounding album I’ve ever done,” The Weeknd told VMan magazine in an interview printed in the September issue. “It’s hard to label the sound because, when I first came out, nobody would label it R&B. I just want to keep pushing the envelope without it feeling forced.”