Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” lands on second-biggest debut album of 2022

Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” album rode in on a steed of its own, posting its second-best first-week numbers yet this year. It lags only behind Harry Styles for album premieres in 2022.

The debut count for “Renaissance” was 332,000 album-equivalent units, according to Luminate Data, as reported in Sunday’s Billboard — a tally that marks the best first week for a female artist this year.

Renaissance ousted Styles’ Harry’s House as the top debut album of the year; The Styles collection closed June with 521,000 units. However, Beyoncé’s efforts have so far surpassed all other 2022 contenders, the biggest of which have been BTS’s “Proof,” which debuted with 314,000 units and is now catapulted to third place, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, who exited at 295,000.

While she doesn’t earn bragging rights for the biggest bow of the year, she still has a chance to become a dominant force in year-end album stats as she announced plans to release two more “acts” as part of it has release cycle. Whether the other two projects will be released as full-length albums — and whether they’ll both be out before the end of 2022 — hasn’t been announced, as Beyoncé has kept virtually all details about them under wraps. But if either or both of the other projects come under scrutiny, and with similarly large numbers, Beyoncé could still own the year as an album artist in the same way that Taylor Swift owned 2020 with her two separate studio albums.

For now, at least, the notable “Renaissance” bow puts an end to Bad Bunny’s non-consecutive seven-week chart reign with “Un Verano Sin Ti.” This surprisingly long-lived album falls to #2 this week with 104,000 units. Expected to see a spike next week as the CD of Bad Bunny’s album just hit stores on Friday, but it must be a pretty big one Leap for Beyoncé not to enjoy a second week at the top.

Four more albums debuted in the top 10 this week. Two of these were by South Korean artists: Ateez’s The World EP.1 debuted at No. 3 with 50,000 album equivalents, and Enhyphen’s Manifesto: Day 1 made it to the top with 39,000 units No. 6. The other fresh Top 10 album is “Sing Me a Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation” by rap duo $uicideboy$. a No. 7 entry with 37,000 units. Dance Gavin Dance’s “Jackpot Juicer” landed in 8th place with 33,500 units.

In a sign of how short 2022 has been so far in terms of female-led blockbuster releases, Billboard notes that “Renaissance” is the first album by a solo female to top the Billboard 200 since Adele’s “30” left the top spot took office in early January after a six-week reign. “This 30-week No. 1 gap is the longest not to be billed for a No. 1 album by a solo female since 2017,” reported Billboard. Even Lizzo’s much-anticipated “Special” had to settle for #2 in July with its 69,000 debut units as Bad Bunny continued to claim the top spot.

Renaissance is Beyoncé’s first full-length solo album since Lemonade, a project that premiered six years ago with 653,000 copies. The circumstances for the two albums are so different that direct comparisons are difficult. “Lemonade” came with a full video album to increase interest, while “Renaissance” has so far had no accompanying music videos – although unlike the previous album’s surprise release a few weeks ago, the newer album was preceded by a single “Break My Soul.” Renaissance” hit the streets with a physical product – a CD in stores and vinyl initially only sold on the artist’s website – while the 2016 release was digital-only to begin with.

The presence of physical sales from the start meant Beyoncé had a very strong sales week this time, with 190,000 of the 332,000 “Renaissance” units coming in the form of full album sales in digital, CD and vinyl formats. Only the Styles and BTS albums have had larger full album sales in the first week so far in 2022. Billboard reports that “Renaissance” sold 121,000 CDs, 43,000 downloads and 26,000 vinyl LPs in its first week. (Vinyl sales will surge when the LP edition hits traditional stores in September; the special editions previously only available on their website have long since sold out.)

In terms of streams, “Renaissance” had 179.06 million on-demand streams in its first week, earning it the seventh-biggest premiere streaming number of 2022 so far. That tally was enough to give the artist her best streaming week to date. Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” lands on second-biggest debut album of 2022

Charles Jones

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