After all the hubbub around Chinese artist Kris Wu hogging the top spots in Apple’s iTunes downloads chart in the US, the first-week Billboard 200 albums chart ranking for his ‘Antares’ long-player was less spectacular. The album debuted at number 100 with 8k equivalent album units, including 5k sales.
Contrary to claims that there was some nefarious bot-buying activity to game the iTunes chart, it turned out that what had happened was lots of Chinese fans using virtual-private-network (VPN) tech to get the album from the US iTunes store before it was available in their own country. Not nefarious, then, but still a headache for the official chart-compilers, whose remit is purely sales within the US.
The subsequent investigation is why ‘Antares’ debuted so low in the Billboard chart. “As with all instances when providers are unable to validate sales, Nielsen decides on a case by case basis whether streaming or sales activity is chart-eligible. In this case, we did not receive the required validation of certain Kris Wu sales for last week and have decided to remove all unverified activity for the week ending November 8,” said chart-provider Nielsen in a statement. Label Universal Music is still happy: the album is already seven-times platinum in China, topping the charts on the four big streaming services there.