Justin Bieber's Changes beats Elvis Presley's 60-year record
Ontario-born musician now youngest solo artist to release 7 consecutive No. 1 albums
Pop star Justin Bieber is now the youngest solo artist to release seven consecutive Billboard No. 1 albums, breaking a nearly 60-year-old record.
At 25, the Stratford, Ont.-raised musician took the crown from Elvis Presley with the release of Changes. Presley had held that record since the 1961 release of Blue Hawaii, a soundtrack to his film of the same name.
Presley released that album when he was 26 years and 11 months old. Bieber will turn 26 on March 1.
As a group, The Beatles hold a similar record. All four members were under 26 when they released Rubber Soul in 1966, their seventh consecutive No. 1 of what would eventually stand at 19 total No. 1 albums.
In 1966, Ringo Starr — the group's oldest member — was 25 years and six months old at the time. George Harrison, the youngest, was 22 years and 10 months old.
Changes is Bieber's ninth album to reach the top 10. It debuted on Feb. 14 at first place, and moved 231,000 units in its first week. It was also released alongside a YouTube documentary series and North American tour, and is his first album in more than four years, following up his Grammy-winning Purpose in 2015.
According to AdWeek, during the commercial breaks after a team takes timeout during Super Bowl LIV this Sunday, TikTok stars will create content to “Yummy” by Justin Bieber! How exciting! <a href="https://t.co/y6tUja9aqF">pic.twitter.com/y6tUja9aqF</a>—@JBCrewdotcom
The album's success hasn't come without controversy, though. In mid-January, Bieber made headlines for seemingly directing his fans to push the Yummy single up the streaming charts. In a since-removed Instagram post, Bieber asked followers to put the song on repeat on Spotify — even while they slept — to buy it multiple times through a link on his website and to use other tactics designed to improve its position.
He also posted multiple videos on the social media platform TikTok, using Yummy to promote the Chipotle restaurant chain during the recent Super Bowl, a move deemed by critics as going against TikTok's focus on content from everyday users.
Yummy failed to reach No. 1, however. It peaked at No. 3.
But Bieber's tactics helped push the album to the top of the charts, according to Tyler Tasson, a music marketing strategist with Toronto-based Endemic Marketing — even if they were disingenuous and, she says, a warning sign of how musicians and their labels may attempt to manipulate the system in the future.
"On the one hand, reaching out to your fans and engaging them to do things like streaming the album and buying singles is great, but then getting them to try to manipulate the system is a whole other thing," Tasson said.
Streaming holds significant weight in Billboard's chart formula, a system the magazine has been tweaking since first including streaming data in 2014. Chart position previously relied solely on sales. Now sites that stream music for free also contribute. If musicians have enough fans. Tasson said, that's something they can use to their advantage.
"One could argue that the reason Elvis got that big was also good marketing, but there was also really amazing talent there," Tasson explained. "Now, it's all about how you can manipulate the game in a way to get to that number on the charts."