After a slow week on the Billboard 200 albums chart chart, where YoungBoy Never Broke Again claimed his second No. 1 album with the lowest unit total for a No. 1 set in nearly a year, next week’s tally will have some major action atop the list.
Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes and Kenny Chesney’s Here and Now are both set to start with over 200,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending May 7, according to industry forecasters. The albums were released on May 1, via OVO/Republic Records and Blue Chair/Warner Music Nashville, respectively.
If both albums launch as expected, it will mark just the second time in the last two years that two albums have earned at least 200,000 units each in a single week. The only other time it’s happened in the past two years was on the chart dated Feb. 1, 2020, when Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By and Halsey’s Manic debuted at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, with 279,000 and 239,000 units earned, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
As for who will end up on top on the upcoming Billboard 200, Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes seems primed for a No. 1 debut, as it will likely earn 235,000 or more units. Meanwhile, Chesney’s Here and Now might hit 225,000 units and land at No. 2. The former is overwhelmingly driven by streaming activity, while the latter is largely powered by album sales associated with a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with Chesney’s upcoming stadium tour.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the May 16-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Dark Lane Demo Tapes and Here and Now will likely arrive in the top two) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s website on Sunday, May 10. At the present, no other albums appear to be headed for a top 10 debut on next week’s list.
A common thread between the Drake/Chesney and Eminem/Halsey weeks is that the albums from Drake and Eminem were surprise releases, while Chesney and Halsey had announced their release dates weeks in advance. Drake’s album was announced a couple hours before it premiered at 12 a.m. ET on May 1. Eminem dropped his set with zero warning before it arrived on streaming services and digital retailers on Jan. 17.