The Billboard 200 tracks the biggest albums every week during the weekly tracking period from Friday through Thursday. While the charts were previously determined simply by record sales, the changing technological landscape has led Billboard to expand its methodology in the 21st century.
One of the most significant changes came in 2014 when Billboard transitioned from pure sales to a combination of factors including online streaming performance and individual track sales in addition to traditional album sales. An album sale counts as one album unit. The sale of 10 individual tracks also counts as one album unit. And you need 3,750 ad-supported streams or 1,250 paid subscription streams to equal one album unit. In 2020 Billboard expanded its criteria yet again to include music videos on platforms like YouTube.
The record for the most number-one albums is held by The Beatles with 19 chart-toppers; they also hold the record for the most number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with 20. Beatles member Paul McCartney actually has 27 top albums when you also count his solo albums and his albums with the band Wings. Jay-Z ranks second with 14 number-one albums, which makes him the top solo artist on the all-time list. Barbra Streisand, Taylor Swift, and Bruce Springsteen are next with 11 number-ones apiece. Streisand is the only artist to claim the top spot in six different decades.
Who’s making history this year? See the full list below, updating throughout 2023.