Louis Tomlinson’s ‘Faith in the Future’ Debuts at No. 2 on Top Album Sales

Louis Tomlinson’s second solo album Faith in the Future debuts at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales (dated Nov. 26), scoring the pop star his highest-charting set yet on the list, and best sales week (37,500 sold in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 17, according to Luminate).

Faith in the Future also bows at No. 2 on Top Current Album Sales, Independent Albums and Vinyl Albums, No. 3 on Tastemaker Albums and No. 5 on the Billboard 200.

Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart ranks the top-selling albums of the week based only on traditional album sales. The chart’s history dates back to May 25, 1991, the first week Billboard began tabulating charts with electronically monitored piece count information from SoundScan, now Luminate. Pure album sales were the sole measurement utilized by the Billboard 200 albums chart through the list dated Dec. 6, 2014, after which that chart switched to a methodology that blends album sales with track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

Top Current Album Sales lists the week’s best-selling current (not catalog, or older albums) albums by traditional album sales. Independent Albums reflects the week’s most popular albums, by units, released by independent record labels.  Vinyl Albums tallies the top-selling vinyl albums of the week. Tastemaker Albums ranks the week’s best-selling albums at independent and small chain record stores.

Of Faith in the Future’s 37,500 sold, physical sales comprise 31,500 (with 16,500 on vinyl; 14,000 on CD and 1,000 on cassette) and digital album download sales comprise 6,000.

Faith’s first-week sales figure was bolstered by its availability across multiple collectible physical variants of the album. It was issued in 10 vinyl variants (including exclusive editions for Amazon and Barnes & Noble; as well as two indie retail-exclusive versions, one of which was signed), four CD variants (including a deluxe Zine/CD package, a Target-exclusive edition with two bonus tracks and a lenticular cover, and a signed Newbury Comics-exclusive CD) and three cassette tapes.

The set was preceded by the single “Bigger Than Me,” which became Tomlinson’s fourth solo hit on the Pop Airplay chart (outside his tenure in One Direction).

At No. 1 on Top Album Sales is Taylor Swift’s Midnights, which spends a fourth straight week atop the list (60,000 sold; down 36%).

Bruce Springsteen’s new covers set Only the Strong Survive enters at No. 3 on Top Album Sales with 37,000 sold. It’s the 17th top 10 for Springsteen since the list launched in 1991. The BeatlesRevolver falls 3-4 with 10,000 sold (down 31%).

NasKing’s Disease III bows at No. 5 with a little more than 8,000 sold (his 16th top 10) and GloRilla’s Anyways, Life’s Great… starts at No. 6 with 8,000.

Louis Armstrong’s holiday compilation Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule rings in at No. 7 with 7,500 copies sold. It’s the legend’s first top 10 on the 31-year-old chart. The new 11-track set is promoted as Armstrong’s “first-ever Christmas album,” though the late artist (who died in 1971) has previously released a number of holiday compilations alongside other acts that feature most of the album’s tracks (such as Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella & Louis Christmas). Notably, Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule includes a previously unreleased recording from Armstrong, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (also known as “The Night Before Christmas”), recorded shortly before his death. It is his first newly released track in over 20 years.

Louis Wishes You a Cool Yule also debuts in the top 10 on Top Current Album Sales, Jazz Albums, Traditional Jazz Albums, Top Holiday Albums and Vinyl Albums. It also bows at No. 122 on the Billboard 200. (Jazz Albums, Traditional Jazz Albums and Top Holiday Albums rank the week’s most popular overall jazz, traditional jazz, and holiday albums, respectively, by equivalent album units.)

Rounding out the top 10 on the new Top Album Sales chart is Harry Styles’ former No. 1 Harry’s House (rising 11-8 with just over 7,000 sold; up 17%), Prince’s The Hits 2 (16-9 with 7,000; up 59%) and the Stranger Things: Season 4 soundtrack (4-10 with nearly 7,000 sold; down 51%).

In the week ending Nov. 17, there were 1.937 million albums sold in the U.S. (up 10.8% compared to the previous week). Of that sum, physical albums (CDs, vinyl LPs, cassettes, etc.) comprised 1.564 million (up 14.7%) and digital albums comprised 374,000 (down 3.1%).

There were 648,000 CD albums sold in the week ending Nov. 17 (up 2.7% week-over-week) and 903,000 vinyl albums sold (up 25.6%). Year-to-date CD album sales stand at 30.301 million (down 8.2% compared to the same time frame a year ago) and year-to-date vinyl album sales total 34.198 million (up 3.1%).

Overall year-to-date album sales total 82.901 million (down 7.3% compared to the same year-to-date time frame a year ago). Year-to-date physical album sales stand at 64.976 million (down 2.4%) and digital album sales total 17.955 million (down 21.6%).

Keith Caulfield