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The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’ tops Billboard 200 with the biggest sales week of the year

The album’s first-week streams outnumber any other R&B project.

The Weeknd Filmmagic

The Weeknd has scored his fourth No. 1 album with After Hours, which debuted at the top-ranking spot on the Billboard 200 chart. According to Billboard, the record saw the biggest week of 2020; moving 444,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. last week.

Furthermore, After Hours now ranks as the largest debut from an R&B album since Beyonce’s 2016 LP, Lemonade. On the streaming side, the album raked in more streams its first week than any other R&B project, accumulating a total of 220.7 million on-demand streams. With this feat, The Weeknd beat his own previous record held by Starboy, which debuted with 175.2 million streams.

After Hours’ streaming capacity was so large, Billboard notes, that the album would have debuted at No. 1 even if it hadn’t sold a single copy. Subsequently, Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake has now been pushed to No. 2 on the 200 chart.

According to TMZ, label executives warned The Weeknd to push After Hours’ release to a later date, due to promotion opportunities being limited by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the Canadian-bred star ultimately chose to honor his initial release date, and the decision to bet on himself paid off handsomely.

“When I started making this album, I never imagined it would be released as we face a worldwide pandemic,” he told TMZ. “I always felt that music helped me in hard times and I hope that this body of work can do the same for others.”

“It’s been amazing to see the real heroes shine in our world right now, the healthcare workers, the grocery store clerks and staff, delivery people, first responders – everyone putting their lives on the line to help others,” he continued. “This album is for them and any small joy or relief it can bring.”

After dropping After Hours on March 20, The Weeknd quickly followed up with After Hours (Deluxe), which houses remixes, live versions and new features from Lil Uzi Vert, Chromatics, The Blaze and more. On Sunday (March 29), he added three new bonus tracks to the album, “Nothing Compares,” “Missed You” and “Final Lullaby.”

According to Billboard, his “After Hours Tour” is set to kick off in June. Stream After Hours (Deluxe) below.

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