The Weeknd Repeats at No. 1, but Spotify’s Top Songs Are Slipping

The Weeknd Repeats at No. 1, but Spotify’s Top Songs Are Slipping

The Weeknd’s new album, “After Hours,” lost 69 percent of its sales in its second week out, but in another slow week for new music it still had enough to stay atop the Billboard 200 chart.

“After Hours” had the equivalent of 138,000 sales in the United States last week, according to Nielsen — down from its opening of 444,000, which was the biggest debut for any album this year. The latest tally for “After Hours” included 47,000 copies sold as a complete package and 119 million streams (down from 221 million). Its total was helped by the addition of three new songs to the album, as well as what Billboard counts as more than 90 deals on the Weeknd’s website offering copies of the LP with sales of merchandise.

For about a month now, the coronavirus epidemic has been changing online listening patterns. The effect is complex, and may be tied to shifts in people’s listening habits. Some genres, like classical and children’s music, are seeing gains, as are older hits, perhaps as listeners seek solace in their favorites.

But one change is clear: Streams of the top 200 songs on Spotify have been sliding. Last week, listeners in the United States streamed those songs 530 million times, according to publicly available data from the service. That is the third straight weekly decline in this metric, and its lowest for the entire year. It is even lower than the 554 million recorded for the last week of 2019, a period when listening usually drops. How much lower will it go?

Also on this week’s chart, the Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer reached No. 2 with its latest, “Calm,” and Lil Uzi Vert’s hit “Eternal Atake” dropped one spot to No. 3. “Future Nostalgia,” the new album from Dua Lipa, the pop singer who won the Grammy Award for best new artist last year, opened at No. 4, and Pearl Jam’s “Gigaton” opened at No. 5.


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