12:31pm PT by Keith Caulfield, Billboard
One Direction Breaks Billboard Record With Third No. 1 Album Debut
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
One Direction's Midnight Memories debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week with 546,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The act makes history as the first band to debut at No. 1 with its first three albums. Midnight Memories follows two No. 1s for the group in 2012: its debut album, Up All Night, and sophomore set, Take Me Home.
Further, One Direction is -- as we forecast last Thursday -- the first group to reach No. 1 with their first three albums since 1967.
The Monkees' self-titled debut was released in 1966 and climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in its sixth week on the chart. The TV-born act -- riding high with its hit ABC series -- followed up the No. 1 success with three more consecutive No. 1s in 1967: More of the Monkees, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
One Direction's first-week sales have also steadily grown with each successive album. Its first set, Up All Night, bowed atop the list with 176,000, while Take Me Home launched with 540,000.
The act follows the recent successes of Drake, Selena Gomez, Luke Bryan and Vampire Weekend in 2013 -- all of whose respective albums have bowed with a bigger first week than the one before it. (You can also include Eminem in that list, to a degree. His last two albums each debuted stronger than the one before.)
With the start of Midnight Memories One Direction also becomes only the third pop group to log multiple half-million sales weeks in the Nielsen SoundScan era. Since the company began tracking sales in 1991, only two other pop groups have notched more than one sales week of 500,000: 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys.
'N Sync did it seven times with three different albums, while Backstreet Boys did it nine times with two albums. Other duos/groups and bands have earned numerous 500,000-plus frames, but they were all R&B, rap, country or rock acts. (They are: Coldplay, Creed, Dave Matthews Band, Dixie Chicks, Eagles, Guns N' Roses, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Outkast, Rascal Flatts, Santana, The Beatles and Tool.)
For more on this week's chart-toppers, visit Billboard.com.