"The Life of Pablo" makes it 7 No. 1's in a row for Kanye West.
UPDATE (04/11/2016 | 3:04pm EST): There are a few minor errors in the below text with regard to how Billboard gauged The Life of Pablo's streaming numbers for the week of April 1 to April 7. Firstly, all streams before that increment are not counted toward this week's sales, which are equivalent to 94,000. As noted below, the album was streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days of availability, whilst it was exclusively on Tidal, where it remained until April 1. According to the NYT, The Life of Pablo was streamed 400 million times in the six weeks it was exclusively available on Tidal.
However, as Billboard only counts the numbers from the past week for its new chart, next to none of those 400 million Tidal streams contributed to The Life of Pablo attaining this week's No. 1 spot. Instead, the 99 million in streams that Pablo is credited with for this week's chart are a total of the streams accumulated on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal for the week of April 1 to April 7. There is no difference between how Nielsen Music tracks the streams on Tidal compared to how it operates with the other two leading streaming platforms.
Lastly, as was incorrectly reported below, Pablo has not been available for purchase on Kanye's website since its release. It had been there for a few hours but was removed as Kanye decided to keep the album solely on Tidal so that he could make changes as he pleased. The album was put back up on the site when it moved to Apple Music and Spotify, and for the current charting week, Kanye's site accounted for 28,000 pure album sales.
Original text below:
As predicted, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo has made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Its placement atop this week's chart (ending April 7) makes The Life of Pablo the first album to ever attain the No. 1 spot with a majority of its sales (70 percent) credited to streaming, and not to pure album sales.
According to Nielsen Music, The Life of Pablo was credited with 94,000 in sales, of which 28,000 were pure album sales, as the album has been available to purchase on Kanye's website since its release. The remainder of the 94,000 is attributed to streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The Life of Pablo's 66,000 SEA units represents over 99 million U.S. streams of the album's individual tracks, reports Billboard. One SEA unit is equivalent to 1,500 song streams from a given album.
Of course, The Life of Pablo was released almost two months ago, though it remained exclusively on Tidal until April 1, when it was extended to both Apple Music and Spotify. Thus, this is technically the album's first week of chart eligibility. On March 29, Tidal finally released some early streaming numbers for Pablo -- after, at the beginning of the month, it was reported that Kanye told the streaming service not to do so. The platform claimed that the album was streamed over 250 million times in its first 10 days of eligibility.
It seems that those Tidal numbers were not included in this week's sales figures, though perhaps Tidal and Nielsen Music have different formulas for accounting for album streaming statistics. Regardless, it's clear that Kanye's sales numbers would have been much larger had the album made its Billboard debut upon its initial release.
In what's perhaps the most impressive achievement to come from Pablo's new chart appearance, the album has now become Kanye's seventh consecutive album to go No. 1. He's only released seven albums.