Under normal circumstances, the world would be listening to Lady Gaga’s new Chromatica album right now. The set was scheduled to be released this past Friday, April 10, but was pushed back to a yet-unannounced date, as the pop superstar said it didn’t “feel right” for her to release the set during a “global pandemic.”
And Chromatica is just one of a number of albums from A-listers that has been delayed. It’s joined by Alicia Keys’ Alicia (previously March 20, now May 15), The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form (was Feb. 21, then April 24, now May 22), Luke Bryan’s Born Here, Live Here, Die Here (April 24 to Aug. 7), Haim’s Women in Music Pt. III (April 24 to Aug. 21) and Sam Smith’s upcoming album (formerly titled To Die For, moving from May 1 to an unannounced date).
On the new Billboard Pop Shop Podcast (listen below), the team discusses why these albums were likely pushed back, while others held to their release date — including the latest efforts by rock band The Strokes and singer-rapper Rod Wave.
Many artists likely felt uncomfortable releasing and promoting a new album during a pandemic, while others may have been confronted with incredible limitations on the traditional rollout and promotion of an album (including the lack of live appearances and concerts, as well as many brick-and-mortar music stores temporarily closed).
For some acts, however, they held to their release schedule and forged ahead. Perhaps because those acts don’t have to rely on brick-and-mortar retail or album sales at all. Rod Wave’s new Pray 4 Love, for example, was released on April 3 and debuted on the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 2 with 97% of its first-week units driven by streaming activity (it earned 72,000 equivalent album units total in the week ending April 9, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data).
Also on the new Pop Shop Podcast, hosts Keith and Katie discuss big chart news from Drake (who lands his seventh No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Toosie Slide”), The Black Eyed Peas (who notch their first top 10 on the Pop Songs airplay chart in over a decade) and The Weeknd (spending a third week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his album After Hours).