top of page
  • Anusha Iyer, AIT

2020: A Musical Roundup

As the chaotic year comes to a close, let’s review some of the biggest music released in 2020. We’re going to look at some of the most popular albums and singles released each month. The biggest album for the month is determined by taking into consideration the number of pure album sales, on-demand streams, and album-equivalent sales.

January albums and singles:

  • Jan 10: “Rare” - Selena Gomez

  • Jan 10: “I Disagree” - Poppy

  • Jan 17: “Circles” - Mac Miller

  • Jan 17: “Maniac” - Halsey

  • Jan 17: “Music to be Murdered By” - Eminem

  • Jan 17: “070 Shake” - Modus Vivendi

  • Jan 31: “TREAT MYSELF” - Meghan Trainor

  • Jan 31: “Walls” - Louis Tomlinson

  • Jan 31: “High Road” - Kesha

  • Jan 31: “Funeral” - Lil Wayne

Biggest album: “Music to be Murdered By” - Eminem

“Music to be Murdered By” took the spot for the biggest album of January. It debuted at number one on the charts with 279,000 album-equivalent units and 117,000 album sales. With songs full of puns, COVID-19 references, and dark themes, “Music to be Murdered By” is described by many as “an album for the stans.”

February albums and singles:

  • Feb 13: “No Time to Die” (Single) - Billie Eilish

  • Feb 14: “The Slow Rush” - Tame Impala

  • Feb 14: “Changes” - Justin Beiber

  • Feb 21: “MAP OF THE SOUL: 7” - BTS

  • Feb 29: “YHLQMDLG” - Bad Bunny

Biggest album: “Map of the Soul: 7” - BTS

“Map of the Soul: 7,” the seventh studio album by Korean boy band BTS, debuted at number one in the United States with 422,000 album-equivalent sales and 347,000 album sales. With deeply personal lyrics and catchy pop and R&B beats, this album was certainly a crowd-pleaser.

March albums and singles:

  • Mar 6: “Eternal Atake” - Lil Uzi Vert

  • Mar 6: “Suga” - Megan Thee Stallion

  • Mar 13: “Heartbreak Weather” - Niall Horan

  • Mar 20: “After Hours” - The Weeknd

  • Mar 20: “Kid Krow” - Conan Gray

  • Mar 27: “Future Nostalgia” - Dua Lipa

Biggest album: “After Hours” - The Weeknd

The Weeknd’s “After Hours” was the biggest album of March, debuting at number one on charts with 444,000 album-equivalent sales. It had 221 million streams and sold 275,000 copies as an album. The album combined retro, disco, and futuristic sounds for a collection of songs that anyone can dance to.

April albums and singles:

  • Apr 3: “It Is What It Is” - Thundercat

  • Apr 3: “Toosie Slide” (Single) - Drake

  • Apr 9: “Level of Concern” (Single) - Twenty One Pilots

  • Apr 17: “BLAME IT ON BABY” - DaBaby

  • Apr 17: “SAWAYAMA” - Rina Sawayama

  • Apr 24: “THE SCOTTS” (Single) - Travis Scott & Kid Cudi

Biggest album: “BLAME IT ON BABY” - DaBaby

DaBaby took the spot for the biggest album in April, with his album “BLAME IT ON BABY” debuting at number one and scoring 124,000 album-equivalent sales. With mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, the album contained mature language and strong, violent lyrics.

May albums and singles:

  • May 1: “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” - Drake

  • May 1: “Good to Know” - Jojo

  • May 8: “Stuck with U” (Single) - Justin Bieber & Ariana Grande

  • May 8: “Half Written Story” - Hailee Steinfeld

  • May 15: “how i’m feeling now” - Charli XCX

  • May 29: “Chromatica” - Lady Gaga

Biggest album: “Chromatica” - Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica” topped the album charts and came in with 280,800 album-equivalent sales, 204,800 full-album sales, 43,000 sales of individual songs, and 76.5 million song streams. Needless to say, Gaga dove back into her dance-pop era to create an album that’s electric, fun, and dramatic.

June albums and singles:

  • Jun 12: “Ungodly Hour” - Chloe x Halle

  • Jun 19: “Translation” - Black Eyed Peas

  • Jun 19: “Bigger Love” - John Legend

  • Jun 19: “Black Parade” (Single) - Beyonce

  • Jun 19: “The Album” - Teyana Taylor

Biggest album: “The Album” - Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor’s “The Album” debuted at number eight on the charts, earning 32,000 album-equivalent sales and 4,000 pure album sales. “The Album” is deeply intimate and personal, with Taylor’s signature lush, smooth vocals, and steady R&B beat gracing each song.

July albums and singles:

  • Jul 10: “Legends Never Die” - Juice WRLD

  • Jul 24: “folklore” - Taylor Swift

  • Jul 30: “my future” (Single) - Billie Eilish

Biggest album: “folklore” - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “folklore” debuted on the charts at number one and was the first album of 2020 to sell a million copies in the U.S. It sold 615,000 copies in its first week and spent eight non-consecutive weeks atop the charts. The stories and clever lyrics combined with the soft vocals and guitar made “folklore” a favorite among Swifties across the globe.

August albums and singles:

  • Aug 7: “JAGUAR” - Victoria Monet

  • Aug 21: “In a Dream” - Troye Sivan

  • Aug 21: “Dynamite” (Single) - BTS

  • Aug 28: “Smile” - Katy Perry

  • Aug 28: “S&M2” - Metallica

Biggest album: “S&M2” - Metallica

Metallica’s “S&M2” was recorded as a live album and debuted at number four on the charts. It earned 56,000 album-equivalent sales and totaled 53,000 album sales. The album was said to be for hardcore fans only, and it was met with much praise from its audience.

September albums and singles:

  • Sep 4: “Detroit 2” - Big Sean

  • Sep 18: “Heaven and Hell” - Ava Max

  • Sep 18: “ALICIA” - Alicia Keys

  • Sep 25: “Tickets to my Downfall” - Machine Gun Kelly

  • Sep 25: “Nectar” - Joji

  • Sep 25: “After School” - Melanie Martinez

Biggest album: “Detroit 2” - Big Sean

“Detroit 2” took the spot for the biggest September album with a number one debut and 103,000 album-equivalent sales. This figure was made up of 94 million streams and 30,000 pure album sales. Though the album was met with mixed reviews, it featured a variety of artists and had personal and witty lyrics.

October albums and singles:

  • Oct 2: “The Album” - BLACKPINK

  • Oct 2: “The Rarities” - Mariah Carey

  • Oct 23: “Letter To You” - Bruce Springsteen

  • Oct 30: “positions” - Ariana Grande

  • Oct 30: “Love Goes” - Sam Smith

Biggest album: “positions” - Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande’s “positions” took the lead in October, debuting at number one and staying there for two weeks. The album earned 174,000 album-equivalent sales and 42,000 album sales. With plenty of whistle notes, soft, breathy vocals, and catchy R&B beats spanning a diverse range of songs, “positions” had something for everyone to enjoy.

November albums and singles:

  • Nov 6: “Confetti” - Little Mix

  • Nov 12: “Therefore I Am” (Single) - Billie Eilish

  • Nov 20: “Good News” - Megan Thee Stallion

  • Nov 20: “BE” - BTS

  • Nov 27: “Plastic Hearts” - Miley Cyrus

Biggest album: “BE” - BTS

BTS’s “BE” debuted at number one, earning 217,000 album-equivalent units and the top spot among November’s albums. It sold 136,700 copies and had 27.2 million streams. The boy band’s second album of the year had lyrics about quarantine and its frustrations while also delivering some fun dance songs.

December albums and singles:

  • Dec 1: “A Very Poppy Christmas” - Poppy

  • Dec 2: “Swimming in the Stars” (Single) - Brittney Spears

  • Dec 4: “Oh Santa!” (Single) - Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson

  • Dec 4: “Wonder” - Shawn Mendes

  • Dec 4: “Nightmare Vacation” - Rico Nasty

  • Dec 8: “Christmas Saves the Year” (Single) - Twenty-One Pilots

  • Dec 11: “evermore” - Taylor Swift

  • Dec 11: “Treat Myself” (Single) - Victoria Justice

  • Dec 21: “Afterglow” (Single) - Ed Sheeran

Biggest album: “evermore” - Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s second surprise album of the year landed her atop the charts with 329,000 album-equivalent units. This comprises 154,500 album sales and 220.49 million on-demand streams. The sister album to “folklore,” released just a few months prior, did not disappoint, with songs about crime, proposals, and love spanning the album.


Anderson, Trevor. “Teyana Taylor's 'Album' Is No. 1 on Top R&B Albums Chart.” Billboard, 1 July 2020,

Caulfield, Keith. “Ariana Grande Claims Fifth No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart With 'Positions'.” Billboard, 8 Nov. 2020,

Caulfield, Keith. “Eminem Scores Historic 10th No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart With 'Music to Be Murdered By'.” Billboard, 26 Jan. 2020,

Caulfield, Keith. “Taylor Swift Achieves Seventh No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart & Biggest Week of 2020 With 'Folklore'.” Billboard, 3 Aug. 2020,

Caulfield, Keith. “Taylor Swift's 'Evermore' Arrives at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart.” Billboard, 21 Dec. 2020,

“January 2020 Album & Single Releases, Music Releases.” Album of The Year,

McIntyre, Hugh. “BTS's 'Map Of The Soul: 7' Is The Only Album To Actually Sell Half A Million Copies In The U.S. This Year.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 July 2020,

Sisario, Ben. “Big Sean Ends Taylor Swift's Reign on Album Chart.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Sept. 2020,

Sisario, Ben. DaBaby Unseats the Weeknd at No. 1. 27 Apr. 2020,

Sisario, Ben. “The Weeknd's 'After Hours' Earns the Year's Biggest Debut Week.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Mar. 2020,

Staff. “Metallica's 'S&M2' Debuts In Top 5 On Billboard Chart.” KBPA - Austin, TX, 10 Sept. 2020,

Willman, Chris. “BTS' 'BE' Easily Conquers Album Chart; Megan Thee Stallion in at No. 2.” Variety, Variety, 30 Nov. 2020,

Willman, Chris. Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Tops Album Chart, as Jimmy Buffett Has Surprise Second-Place Finish. 9 June 2020,

Recent Posts
bottom of page