K-pop Queens Blackpink Hit No. 1 With CDs and ‘Signed’ Digital Albums

It may be a streaming world, but getting to No. 1 on the Billboard album chart these days often comes down to selling a lot of vinyl LPs or even those semi-passé silver data platters known as CDs.

Back in April, Tyler, the Creator catapulted 119 spots to the top when his album “Call Me if You Get Lost” came out on vinyl nearly a year after its initial release. The following month, Harry Styles’s “Harry’s House” had solid streaming numbers but relied on vinyl to nab the year’s biggest opening (still). And in June, the K-pop kings BTS landed at No. 1 with mediocre streams but big CD sales of a compilation album, “Proof.”

This week, another K-pop group, the four-woman Blackpink, rockets to the top with physical sales.

“Born Pink,” the quartet’s second full-length studio album, becomes its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with the equivalent of 102,000 sales in the United States, according to the tracking service Luminate. That total includes 37 million streams — a modest sum, representing only about a quarter of the group’s composite sales number for the week. The rest is attributed to old-fashioned purchases of “Born Pink” as a compete unit, including 64,000 made for the 17 different configurations of the album on CD.

As Billboard noted, many of these CD editions came in collectible packages — with alternative covers, autographs and other goodies like postcards and stickers — that were initially priced as high as $50, but were discounted over the course of last week. Blackpink also sold a “signed digital album” through its website for $4.99, and marked its standard downloadable album down to $3.99.

Those sales helped push “Born Pink” past Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti,” the streaming behemoth that has occupied the top slot on and off for 11 weeks. In its 20th week on the chart, “Un Verano” falls to No. 2 with the equivalent of 93,000 sales, mostly from streams.

Another K-pop group, NCT 127, opens at No. 3 this week with “2 Baddies”; most of its 58,500 equivalent sales were for CDs, with the album’s 12 tracks garnering fewer than four million streams. By comparison, the 23-track “Verano” has been averaging 130 million to 140 million clicks a week for the last couple of months.

Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” is in fourth place, notching its 88th time in the Top 10 since early 2021. Since the Billboard 200 began in 1956, only five other titles have appeared more times in the chart’s Top 10. All of them were movie soundtracks or Broadway cast recordings from 1965 or before, like “South Pacific,” with 90 weeks charting that high, and “My Fair Lady,” with 173.

Also this week, the Weeknd’s hits collection “The Highlights” is No. 5.

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