Tyler, the Creator beats DJ Khaled to hit No. 1 with 'Igor'

Two big new albums come out, and as they race to No. 1, each garners an almost equal number of streams. Which one triumphs? This week, T-shirts, faux campaign signs and an energy drink may have mattered as much as the music.

Tyler, the Creator beats DJ Khaled to hit No. 1 with 'Igor'

Tyler, the Creator’s new album “Igor” (Columbia) opened at No. 1 on Billboard’s latest chart with 122.9 million streams — slightly less than the 123.2 million for DJ Khaled’s new “Father of Asahd” (Epic), according to Nielsen.

The deciding factor was how many copies each title was credited with selling in the form of a full album. “Igor” sold 74,000, while “Father of Asahd” had just 34,000. Altogether, combining streams and copies sold, “Igor” had 165,000 “equivalent” album sales for the week, while “Father” had 136,000.

Both albums were promoted with merchandise bundles, in which fans were offered downloadable copies of the album along with certain purchases. Tyler, the Creator had T-shirts, stickers and “Vote Igor” lawn signs, while DJ Khaled sold bottles of Awake Energy Shot drinks, along with other energy supplements.

Did lawn signs help Tyler beat Khaled? Nielsen did not break out how many of each artist’s sales came through their bundles. But as these deals have grown increasingly popular — and led to some concerns about distorting the weekly charts — they have frequently been the critical factor that pushes one album to the top.

Also this week, Billie Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” fell one spot to No. 3, Khalid’s “Free Spirit” was No. 4, and brooding indie-rock band the National opened at No. 5 with “I Am Easy to Find” (4AD), the group’s fourth Top 5 album in a row.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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