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Chart Analysis April 6, 2020

‘Clerical error’ robs 5SOS of #1 debut on Billboard album chart

Former Executive Editor
‘Clerical error’ robs 5SOS of #1 debut on Billboard album chart
5 Seconds of Summer at Fire Fight Australia by Jess Gleeson

5 Seconds of Summer’s safe landing atop the album charts in Australia and the UK has been somewhat overshadowed by a direct-to-fan clerical blunder in the US.

The band’s fourth studio album Calm was on track to seize the coveted #1 position in all three markets this weekend, up against newbies from Dua Lipa and Pearl Jam.

It was mission accomplished in Australia and the UK, with Calm leading the summit on the ARIA Albums Chart and a narrow 550 units ahead of Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia in Great Britain.

In the US, however, someone somewhere made a soul-crushing boo-boo that almost certainly left label executives, the band and their management demanding answers after the album appeared closer to the cooler South Pole on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Debuting prematurely at #62 last week, 5SOS were forced to release a statement on their Instagram to explain the mishap, saying a “shipping error” was responsible for about 11,000 units sold leaving a D2C warehouse early.

Had the direct-to-fan copies been counted towards the correct chart, Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin would be celebrating another well-earned #1 record.

The 11,000 units were sold as part of a ticket and album bundle pre-order campaign.

Instead the boys were relegated to #2 in the US this week, behind The Weekend’s After Hours, which reemerged for a second week atop the tally after an impressive first week of sales.

In a chart story on Billboard, the trade news and charts provider said the 5SOS CDs were “inadvertently fulfilled to customers prior to the album’s actual release date”.

“Customers received the album as early as March 23. Longstanding Billboard policy is to reflect album sale activity in the tracking week that the paying customer receives the album.”

Calm now becomes the band’s fifth Top 10 album on the Billboard 200, surging from #62 to #2 this week, with 133,000 equivalent album units earned for the week ending April 2.

As expected, 5SOS fans aren’t satisfied with the response. A petition on to rewrite history has secured almost 19,000 signatures, and growing, as of lunchtime on Monday.


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