'Empire,' Madonna and Luke Bryan Debut in Top Three on Billboard 200
As reported earlier, Fox TV's smash musical drama series Empire sees its soundtrack debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, moving 130,000 equivalent album units in the week ending March 15, according to Nielsen Music.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Empire continues to rack up big TV ratings as well: its March 11 episode was seen by 14.9 million viewers according to Nielsen, making it the third most-watched primetime broadcast of the week (behind only NCIS, with 16.2 million; and The Big Bang Theory, with 16.1 million).
Madonna's 13th studio album Rebel Heart debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 121,000 units, securing the Queen of Pop her 21st top 10 album. All 13 of her studio efforts have reached the top 10, and she's earned another eight top 10s with greatest hits packages, live albums and soundtracks. Madonna has the second-most top 10 albums among women, trailing only Barbra Streisand, with 33.
Luke Bryan rounds out the trio of debuts in the new top 10, as his latest spring break-themed album, Spring Break…Checkin' Out, starts at No. 3 with 106,000 units. Over on the Top Country Albums chart, the set enters at No. 1, giving Bryan his fifth chart-topper. Of his five No. 1s, three of them have been part of his spring break-themed series of releases.
Outside of the top three, the rest of the top 10 is fairly quiet. The Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack slips 2-4 with 72,000 units (down 25 percent) while Taylor Swift's 1989 descends 3-5 with 62,000 (down 19 percent).
Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour jumps 8-6 with 61,000 (up 23 percent), spending its 32nd nonconsecutive week in the top 10. That's the most weeks in the top 10 for an album by a male artist since Usher's Confessions racked up 41 weeks in the region between 2004 and 2005.
Drake's former No. 1 If You're Reading This It's Too Late (which happens to include a song titled "Madonna") drops 4-7 with 58,000 (down 20 percent).
Ed Sheeran's x slides 5-8 with 53,000 (down 15 percent) and Maroon 5's V moves 7-9 with 48,000 (down 4 percent).
Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise rounds out the top 10, as it descends 6-10 with 38,000 (down 35 percent).
The previous week's No. 1 album, Kelly Clarkson's Piece By Piece, drops out of the top 10, falling 1-12 with 32,000 units (down 67 percent). Piece By Piece has the largest positional drop from No. 1 since the Aug. 2, 2014-dated chart, when Sia's 1000 Forms of Fear fell 1-19 in its second week.