As expected by many, Frank Ocean’s highly anticipated, long-awaited album Blonde topped out the Billboard 200 this week. The numbers themselves are actually quite staggering with 276,000 number of equivalent album units sold, enough to certify it as Ocean’s first No. 1 album. It also marked the third highest sales week for any album released this year not named VIEWS or Lemonade. It’s also the third independent record to hit No. 1 after Blink-182’s California and the Lumineer’s Cleopatra.
Given the heavy amount of buzz around Blonde, the numbers here aren’t very surprising. In the four years since Ocean dropped Channel Orange, the fever pitch for his next projects only seemed to get louder. Rumors of its release have been swirling around since 2013. A wide array of leaks, social media posts, and cryptic teasers continually suggested to his most hardcore fans that the album was close to completion—only to be disappointed over and over again.
It’s hard not to think that if it had not been an Apple exclusive, the sales might have been even higher. According to data provided to Music Business Worldwide, Blonde was illegally downloaded 753,849 times on Thursday alone. These numbers came from MUSO, which is described as a content protection, data analytics, and piracy audience reconnection specialist. Most impressive of all perhaps, of Blonde’s 276,000 units, 232,000 were in traditional album sales, which is pretty incredible considering the rise of streaming this year as a prime mover in unit calculations.
Rounding out the rest of the charts this week is Drake’s monster album VIEWS at No. 2, the Suicide Squad soundtrack at No. 3, and Drizzy’s Toronto peer Tory Lanez with debut studio album I Told You at No. 4.