As projected last week, Frank Ocean‘s long-awaited Blonde will debut at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 for the week ending August 25 with 276,000 total equivalent album units and 232,000 in pure album sales, despite being downloaded illegally over 750,000 times as of Friday.
Impressively, Blonde gave Ocean the third-largest debut in 2016 in both album units and pure sales. Drake’s chart-dominating Views moved 1.04 million album units and 852,000 copies sold during its first week and Beyonce’s Lemonade pushed 653,000 album units and 485,000 pure sales. And despite being an Apple Music exclusive, Blonde still managed to be the second-most streamed album during the week, finishing with 65.4 million total streams right behind Views‘s 67.5 million streams.
Ocean’s album rollout caused a stir last weekend when he first released a visual album called Endless early Friday morning before finally releasing Blonde a day later.
Later it was reported Endless was released to get out of Ocean’s Def Jam contract to allow him to release Blonde independently. The move made waves in the industry, leading to rumors about Universal Music Group (the parent company of Def Jam) banning streaming exclusives entirely and a potential lawsuit against Ocean for the release.
Separately, it also turns out Endless wasn’t eligible for the Billboard 200 album chart because there hasn’t been a tracking metric developed for visual albums as of yet. Ocean may have taken four years to release his follow-up to Channel Orange, but it didn’t take long for the album to make a huge impact.