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The Weeknd is on course for his fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as industry forecasters suggest his latest release, After Hours, should make a splashy debut atop next week’s tally.

Those in the know indicate the album could bow with more than 425,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending March 26. If the set starts with over 425,000, it would mark a career-high week for the artist and 2020’s largest week for any album.

After Hours was released March 20 via XO/Republic Records. It’s The Weeknd’s first release since the six-song EP My Dear Melancholy in 2018 and his first full-length effort since 2016’s Starboy. Both albums debuted at No. 1.

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 April 4-dated Billboard 200 chart (where After Hours may debut at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s website on Sunday, March 29.

With After Hours on track to likely earn over 425,000 units in its first week, that would top The Weeknd’s current high-water mark, tallied when 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness bowed at No. 1 with 411,000 units earned in its first week, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Beauty also marked his first No. 1 on the chart.

Further, if After Hours begins with 425,000-plus, it would surpass 2020’s current record holder for the biggest week: the debut frame of BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7. The latter started with 422,000 units earned and bowed at No. 1 on the chart dated March 7.

After Hours’ first-week units will be bolstered by both a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer (with The Weeknd’s upcoming tour, scheduled to kick off in June) and more than 80 different merchandise/album bundles sold via his official web store.

Other albums on course for notable chart arrivals next week include: Conan Gray’s Kid Krow (with perhaps 45,000 units), Childish Gambino’s surprise release 3.15.20 (maybe 30,000 to 40,000 units), the late Kenny Rogers’ 2018 greatest-hits set The Best of Kenny Rogers: Through the Years (maybe 30,000), Kelsea Ballerini’s kelsea (25,000 or more) and J Balvin’s Colores (over 20,000).




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