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Aaliyah’s ‘One in a Million’ finally cracks the Billboard top 10

  • >> Ben Sisario, The New York Times
    Published: 2021-08-31 11:45:33 BdST

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This week, “One in a Million,” which had stalled at No. 18 when released in 1996, lands at No. 10 on the Billboard album chart. Photo: Spotify

Vinyl helped Olivia Rodrigo reclaim the No. 1 spot on the Billboard album chart this week, while a long-delayed arrival on streaming brought a 25-year-old album by Aaliyah to the Top 10 for the first time.

Rodrigo’s “Sour” notches a fifth week at No. 1 with the equivalent of 133,000 sales in the United States, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking service. It had 70 million streams, very good for a 3-month-old album. But it was the album’s release on vinyl that sent “Sour” back to the top. It sold 76,000 copies on LP, the second-best weekly number for a vinyl album in at least 30 years, after Taylor Swift sold 102,000 copies of “Evermore” in June. Just a few weeks ago, Billie Eilish sold 73,000 of her latest, “Happier Than Ever.”

The success of these albums reflects the rising popularity of vinyl records, which last year in the United States generated greater retail revenue than CDs for the first time since 1986. But the releases have also benefited from a Billboard chart rule that went into effect last October. Before then, many vinyl sales were counted when fans first placed their order; even if the record wasn’t ready yet, fans often received a downloadable copy while they waited. Now, those sales count once the record is shipped to a customer — allowing many artists to rack up weeks’ or months’ worth of advance sales.

Also this week, rapper Trippie Redd opens at No. 2 with “Trip at Knight,” and Lorde’s new “Solar Power” makes its debut at No. 5. Rod Wave’s 5-month-old “SoulFly” lands at No. 3 after a deluxe reissue, and Doja Cat’s recent “Planet Her” is No. 4.

“One in a Million,” the second album by R&B singer Aaliyah, who died in 2001 at age 22, has long been absent from the market. But a recent deal made by the company that controls her catalogue — run by a man who happens to be her uncle — brought it back in print and finally began releasing Aaliyah’s music on streaming services.

This week, “One in a Million,” which had stalled at No. 18 when released in 1996, lands at No. 10. It was not Aaliyah’s first time ever in the Top 10, however. Her third album, “Aaliyah” (2001), went to No. 1, and a posthumous collection, “I Care 4 U” (2002), reached No. 3.

© 2021 The New York Times Company