Alabama Shakes and Sound & Color brought an air of independence to the Billboard 200 this week, as the album became the first independent label (ATO) release to top the charts during 2015. It was easily the band's bestselling week ever, moving 96,000 equivalent copies during its first week. Yet it seemed almost inevitable: The band got to no. 6 with its previous release, Boys & Girls, but nearly a year after it debuted. Listeners caught on to the band just a hair too late, and made up for it this time around.
The Furious 7 soundtrack maintains its place at no. 2 on this week's charts, having sold more than 62,000 equivalent albums. The "equivalent" part comes into play more with this than any other album in the Top 10. Sales and streams of its single "See You Again" (by Wiz Khalifa) have driven that song to the top of the Hot 100. "See You Again" accounts for more than 44,000 equivalent copies of the album.
Yelawolf and his album Love Story is the last new release in the Top 10 this week, as the rapper also had his best sales week ever, moving 58,000 copies of his new set. Both new releases on this week's Top 10 were from Alabama natives. Another rapper had a big week, as Drake pushed back to the fore with If You're Reading This It's Too Late. The album, which was at no. 10 last week, saw a surge in sales as it was finally released physically as a CD, having only been available as a download previously. That accounted for most of the album's 48,000 sales last week.
Due to the lack of new releases this week, a number of popular albums all stepped up one place in the rankings: The Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack moved to no. 5 (38,000 copies sold), Taylor Swift and 1989 took no. 6 (36,000 copies), Sam Smith and In The Lonely Hour came in at no. 7 (just short of 36,000 in sales) and Ed Sheeran's x also moved up one place (32,000 copies).
One name we haven't seen in a while: Sam Hunt and Montevallo has been creeping up the charts to the Top 10 again following his exposure at the Academy of Country Music Awards last weekend. He was at no. 13 last week and jumped to no. 9 this week as his album moved 32,000 equivalent copies.
Meghan Trainor gets the last spot as Title rises with 30,000 copies moved.