It took 26 albums, but Andrea Bocelli, the Italian tenor who has embodied the popular side of classical music and opera for two decades, has finally reached the top of the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.
Bocelli’s “Sì” (Sugar/Decca Records/Verve), which includes collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Josh Groban and the singer’s son Matteo, among tracks in Italian and Spanish, debuts at No. 1 this week with 126,000 album equivalent units, according to Nielsen Music. That includes 123,000 old-school sales (physical and digital) and 2 million streams (a tiny total for this era of music consumption). The new album is Bocelli’s 16th studio effort and 26th overall to chart since “Romanza” made it to Billboard in 1997.
The totals for “Sì” were bolstered by the now-common tactic of pairing new albums with concert tickets, meaning every fan who purchased a seat at an upcoming Bocelli show was given the opportunity to redeem a copy of the LP for no additional cost.
The ticket bundle, as it is known in the industry, was enough to push the album past the soundtrack for “A Star Is Born,” featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, which had held the top Billboard spot for three weeks as the film cleans up at the box office. In its fourth week on the chart, “A Star Is Born” (Interscope) is No. 2, with another 93,000 units — including 36 million streams — falling below a six-figure total for the first time.
The rest of the Top 5 (and Top 10) is dominated by streaming-heavy releases: Joji, the Japanese singer and rapper who is also known as a YouTube personality, debuts at No. 3 with his first album, “Ballads 1” (88 Rising/12 Tone), earning 34,000 in sales and 31 million streams for 57,000 total units. The Canadian singer and rapper Tory Lanez is No. 4 with “Love Me Now?”, relying largely on 63 million streams. And Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter V,” in its fifth week out, is No. 5 with another 62 million streams.
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