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CHART STORY: RIHANNA’S HARD “WORK” PAID OFF
Showing Poise Under Pressure, ANTI  Refuses to Be Held Down

Westbury Road/Roc Nation’s Rihanna has dethroned another megastar, Adele, by topping the HITS Album Sales Chart with 125k for ANTI, even after the Samsung-backed giveaway of a million copies. Keep in mind that the set—her eighth studio album—was only available digitally at presstime. Adele’s 25 (XL/Columbia) slides to #2, earning another 93k. On the Sales Plus Streaming (SPS) Chart, ANTI boasts an additional 47k with a total of 172k.

Upon release, RiRi’s lead single, “Work,” immediately went #1 on iTunes’ overall singles chart in the U.S., U.K. and more than 80 markets. For the first time in her career and the first time in memory at Rhythm and Urban radio, she closed out both panels upon impact. She also secured over 150 adds at Pop in its premiere week. In sum, it’s big.

While the leak of RiRi’s album ahead of street date caused the Industry Bible to put her on its chart early (at #27), it’s worth noting that they certainly have discretion in such cases, and might have looked the other way for a major artist who’s one of the biggest brands in the biz. It’s further confirmation that the Bible bunch have virtually no grasp on the nuances of the music industry.

The next major debut belongs to Monkey Puzzle/RCA singer/songwriter Sia, who snagged 73k for This Is Acting—her highly anticipated follow-up to 1,000 Forms of Fear, which compiles a selection of tunes rejected by pop stars over the hitmaker’s career.

The remaining Top 15 bows include Kevin Gates (#3), Charlie Puth (#5), Dream Theater (#8) and Tedeschi Trucks Band (#14).

Meanwhile, the kings of stamina, RBMG/Def Jam’s Justin Bieber and Mercury Nashville’s Chris Stapleton, continue to sell vigorously at #7 and #8, respectively. Bieber’s Purpose also remains a monster at SPS, earning another 61k (35k more than the album sales number alone) in its 12th week out.

Parlophone’s Coldplay leaped #26-12 after the band’s Super Bowl announcement and Chris Martin’s appearance on James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” segment of The Late Late Show. And as single “Me, Myself and I” starts to pick up steam (it’s Top 10 on the Digital Songs chart), G-Eazy’s When It’s Dark Out (RCA) also enjoys a bump, breaking into the Top 20 in part fueled by a $6.99 iTunes special.

In hair gel and synchronized dance-related news, Paramount/Republic’s Grease Live! soundtrack appears at #20, following the Fox telecast. The 1978 film’s original soundtrack—released via Polydor—also re-entered the chart at #46.  

Streeting this week are albums from Island’s Elton John, Wiz Khalifa, Lucinda Williams and Capitol Nashville’s Charles Kelley, along with the physical version of RiRi’s ANTI.

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