Pop superstar Beyonce’s sixth album is expected to debut at number one on the US chart despite being available only for download and through one streaming service, Billboard said Wednesday.
The music industry journal, which publishes the weekly album charts on Sundays, said that Beyonce’s “Lemonade” was likely to sell more than 450,000 copies before factoring in streaming in the week through Thursday.
Beyonce late Saturday released “Lemonade” — after plenty of hints but no direct announcement — exclusively on the Tidal streaming service led by her husband, rap mogul Jay-Z, during the broadcast of a film version of the album on cable network HBO.
Beyonce on Monday started selling the album for download on iTunes and other digital retailers but it remains off Tidal’s larger competitors Spotify and Apple Music and a CD version will not come out until May 6.
Nielsen Music, which calculates the charts, factors in streaming, which has rapidly grown as a listening format, even if it generally brings in less revenue to artists than direct album sales.
If the forecast holds true on “Lemonade,” Beyonce will have debuted at number one with all six of her solo albums.
Her last album, which was self-titled, was released in late 2013 without warning on iTunes and with no immediate physical copy — a move that outraged brick-and-mortar retailers but which has become increasingly common for stars.
Her latest album, with themes of infidelity and the resilience of African-American women, marks a musically diverse turn for Beyonce with a song co-written with Led Zeppelin members and another track with a touch of country.