Plus: Styles may set a Nielsen-era record for the biggest sales launch for a U.K. male act’s debut album.
Harry Styles is heading for a No. 1 bow on the Billboard 200 chart with his self-titled debut album, according to industry forecasters. Though it’s early in the tracking week (the album was released on May 12 through Erskine/Columbia Records), sources suggest the set could earn over 250,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending May 18. Of that sum, perhaps 200,000-210,000 (or more) could be in traditional album sales.
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 new June 3-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Styles could debut at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, May 21. (In the meantime, the May 27-dated list’s top 10 is still waiting in the wings, and Logic’sEverybody is on course to bow at No. 1. That chart’s top 10 is due to be unveiled on May 14.)
Considering Styles’ current sales forecast, the British-born act is on track to score the largest debut sales week for a U.K. male artist’s first full-length album since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991. (Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour has the current record, with 166,000 sold in its first week, back in 2014, according to Nielsen. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2.)
If Styles debuts at No. 1, he will be just the second U.K. male artist to bow atop the list with their first album in the 61-year history of the Billboard 200. He would follow his former One Direction bandmate, Zayn, who entered at No. 1 with Mind of Mine on the list dated April 16, 2016 (with 157,000 units and 112,000 in traditional album sales).
The other big album released on May 12, Zac Brown Band’s Welcome Home, is also aiming for a handsome debut on the Billboard 200 dated June 3. It may start with around 150,000 units.