The dance-rock band LCD Soundsystem called it quits in 2011 at what seemed to be the top of its game, with a farewell concert at Madison Square Garden that was captured in a documentary. Festooned with critical praise, the band, led by the producer and wit James Murphy, had never reached higher than No. 10 on the Billboard chart.
Now, a year and a half into its revival, LCD Soundsystem finally has its first No. 1.
“American Dream” (DFA/Columbia), the band’s first studio album in seven years, had the equivalent of 85,000 sales in the United States in its first week out, according to Nielsen. Reflecting the increasing divide in listening habits between rock fans and those listening to pop and hip-hop, most of the album’s take came as traditional album sales rather than as streams. “American Dream” sold 81,000 copies in formats like CD, vinyl and downloads, and it had only 6.3 million streams in the week.
Hip-hop, pop and electronic music have been driving the streaming transition for several years now, but the difference is becoming more pronounced. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Luv Is Rage 2,” the No. 2 title (and last week’s top seller), had 122 million streams this week but fewer than 4,000 sales as a full album.
Recent rock albums to reach No. 1 have all had minuscule streaming numbers, relying on full-album sales to reach the top. For Brand New’s “Science Fiction,” 95 percent of total consumption in its first week came in the form of album sales; for Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now,” it was 94 percent; Linkin Park’s “One More Light” (which, some fans balked, was barely rock at all) was 90 percent.
For LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and many others these days — including plenty of non-rock acts, like Katy Perry and the Chainsmokers — those sales numbers have been helped by promotions that bundle album sales with concert tickets.
Also this week, the 19-year-old rapper XXXTentacion fell one spot to No. 3 with “17.” (Adding to the controversy surrounding XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, Pitchfork last week published graphic excerpts from the deposition of a woman…