Billboard Reconfigures Its Country Albums Chart

Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton Still Top Country Songs, Albums Summits

Hold onto your hats — or any other loosely-tethered garments. There’s been a major change in how Billboard ranks its country albums.

Starting this week, instead of showing rankings based on CD sales alone, the charts will also reflect track equivalent albums (that is 10 songs downloaded from a particular album) and streaming equivalent albums (1,500 songs streamed from a particular album).

But before we get deeper into this statistical morass, we should note that — to no one’s surprise — Chris Stapleton‘s Traveller and Blake Shelton‘s “A Guy With a Girl” continue to reign at the top of the albums and country airplay charts.

Because of the new criteria. a lot of albums that had dropped off the Top 50 charts as physical sales declined have now come back on.

And here they are: Sam Hunt‘s Montevallo returns at No. 7; Garth Brooks’ The Ultimate Hits (No. 18); the Zac Brown Band‘s Greatest Hits So Far … (No. 20); Toby Keith‘s 35 Biggest Hits (No. 21); Carrie Underwood‘s Greatest Hits: Decade #1 (No. 22); Florida Georgia Line‘s Here’s to the Good Times (No. 24); Luke Bryan‘s Crash My Party (No. 26).

Also, Chris Lane‘s Girl Problems (No. 29), Johnny Cash‘s The Legend of Johnny Cash (No. 30); Brett Young‘s self-titled EP (No. 31); Eric Church‘s Chief (No. 33); Tim McGraw‘s Number One Hits (No. 34); Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes (No. 35); Eric Church’s The Outsiders (No. 36); George Strait‘s Icon 2 (No. 39); Brantley Gilbert‘s Just As I Am (No. 40).

And, the Zac Brown Band’s Jekyll + Hyde (No. 42); Rascal FlattsGreatest Hits: Volume 1 (No. 43); Johnny Cash’s The Essential Johnny Cash (No. 44); Michael Ray‘s self-titled album (No. 45); Brad Paisley‘s Hits Alive (No. 46); Taylor Swift‘s Red (No. 47); Jason Aldean‘s Old Boots, New Dirt (No. 49) and Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines (No. 50).

OK, now catch a breath.

There are four new songs to report — Easton Corbin‘s “A Girl Like You” (debuting at No. 56); Jackie Lee‘s “Getting Over You” (No. 58); Casey Donahew‘s “Kiss Me” (No. 59) and Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem” (No. 60).

Love and Theft‘s “Candyland” rebounds at No. 57.

The No. 2 through No. 5 albums, in descending order, are Keith Urban‘s Ripcord, Thomas Rhett‘s Tangled Up, Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots and Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know.

Rounding out the Top 5 songs cluster are Thomas Rhett’s “Star of the Show,” Dustin Lynch‘s “Seein’ Red,” Little Big Town‘s “Better Man” and Chris Young‘s “Sober Saturday Night,” featuring Vince Gill.

Satisfied?

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.