Bon Jovi Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200, David Bowie at No. 2

by Keith Caulfield / Billboard

19th March 2013

Bon Jovi Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200, David Bowie at No. 2

Bowie’s comeback album, ‘The Next Day,’ notches a career-high chart position.

Bon Jovi scores its fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart as “What About Now” debuts with 96,000 sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the act’s third straight studio album to debut at No. 1, following “The Circle” (2009) and “Lost Highway” (2007). They previously claimed No. 1s with “New Jersey” (1988) and “Slippery When Wet” (1986).

The veteran band beats the also-debuting David Bowie, who arrives at a career-high No. 2 with “The Next Day,” selling 85,000. The rock legend’s new album — his first studio set since 2003 — earns his largest sales week for an album since SoundScan started tracking data in 1991. (Bowie’s previous best SoundScan-era sales frame came when 2002’s “Heathen” started with 55,000 at No. 14.)

“The Next Day” is Bowie’s seventh top 10 album. He last logged a top 10 way back in 1983 with the No. 4-peaking “Let’s Dance.” Until this week, Bowie’s highest-charting album had been 1976’s “Station to Station,” which spent two weeks at No. 3.

The full top 10 of the Billboard 200 will be revealed on Wednesday, March 20.

A week ago, we reported that industry sources were forecasting a possible race for No. 1 between Bon Jovi and Bowie. While at first it seemed like Bowie had a shot for the top of the tally, based in part on his album’s strong digital sales, ultimately Bon Jovi pulled ahead as the week progressed. Bon Jovi’s album profited from weekend CD purchases at big box stores like Walmart and Target.

In terms of downloads, Bowie’s album was the stronger seller. It moved 41,000 digital copies and was the top selling digital album last week. 48% of Bowie’s overall first-week were downloads. As for Bon Jovi’s album, it moved 34,000 downloads — 36% of its debut.

Though Bon Jovi does claim its fifth No. 1, it does so with its smallest debut sales week for a studio set since 1995. “What About Now’s” opening sum of 96,000 is the band’s lowest start since 1995’s “These Days” entered with 73,000 at No. 9.

The act’s two previous studio releases — 2009’s “The Circle” and 2007’s “Lost Highway” — both entered at No. 1 with 163,000 and 292,000, respectively.

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