RS Charts: Morgan Wallen's 'Dangerous' Number One Despite Racial Slur - Rolling Stone
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RS Charts: Morgan Wallen’s ‘Dangerous’ Number One Again Despite Racial Slur

Country singer’s music continued to stream and sell even as parts of the music industry removed their support

Morgan Wallen holds onto the Number One spot on the Artists 500 amid controversy.Morgan Wallen holds onto the Number One spot on the Artists 500 amid controversy.

Morgan Wallen

John Shearer*

Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album spent its fifth consecutive week at Number One on the Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums chart. Wallen has prevailed the last two weeks even after a video of him using a racial slur emerged on TMZ, causing radio stations to pull his music out of rotation and streaming services to remove his music from prominent playlists.

The music industry’s attempts to punish Wallen for his behavior appear to have had an unintended consequence: His music is actually performing better than it was before the controversy. Three weeks ago, Dangerous earned 127,600 album-equivalent units. On the next week’s chart, after the video emerged and the music industry took steps to distance itself from Wallen, that number grew to 144,200 units. And on the latest chart, Dangerous earned 137,000 units, including 32,000 album sales and more than 122 million streams. Wallen’s previous album, If I Know Me, also continued to climb up the RS 200, moving from Number 15 to Number 10.

Wallen’s on-demand audio streams increased slightly on the whole — from 162 million to 166 million — from the week before the incident to the week after. Overall, his streams dropped slightly last week, to 154 million. But his song and album sales have continued to soar. In the two weeks following the incident, his song sales soared 65 percent, while his album sales increased 141 percent. Wallen saw over 40,000 sales across all albums last week, which is his second-highest weekly total in his career so far, second only to the week he released Dangerous and broke the record for the biggest country debut ever on the RS 200, according to Alpha Data. 

Top Albums

The week of February 12, 2021

Dangerous: The Double Album

Morgan Wallen

Album Units 86.9K

The Voice

Album Units 40.8K

After Hours

Album Units 40.7K

Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon

Pop Smoke
Album Units 36.1K

Shiesty Season

Pooh Shiesty
Album Units 34.4K

Wallen’s total was more than double that of Foo Fighters, whose new album Medicine at Midnight debuted at Number Two on the RS 200. Medicine at Midnight picked up just 7.1 millions streams, but earned over 47,000 sales. Foo Fighters were trailed by the breakout rapper Pooh Shiesty, whose major-label debut Shiesty Season arrived at Number Three with 74 million streams. Lil Durk’s The Voice, which jumped to Number Two on last week’s chart after the release of a deluxe edition, fell to Number Five.

The Rolling Stone 200 Albums chart tracks the most popular releases of the week in the United States. Entries are ranked by album units, a number that combines digital and physical album sales, digital song sales, and audio streams using a custom weighting system. The chart does not include passive listening such as terrestrial radio or digital radio. The RS 200 chart is updated daily, and each week Rolling Stone finalizes and publishes an official version of the chart, covering the seven-day period ending with the previous Thursday.

Following his performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, the Weeknd saw several of his albums jump on the RS 200. Streams of songs on After Hours leapt from more than 35 million to more than 53 million. His new compilation The Highlights and the old compilation Trilogy also appeared on the top half of the chart.

See the full RS 200 here.


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