In the same week that the first season of Fox TV’s musical drama Empire ended, its soundtrack debuts at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, making it the first TV series soundtrack to crown the 50-year-old list.
The only other TV soundtrack to lead the tally was in January and February of 1969, when Diana Ross & The Supremes, along with the Temptations, took the soundtrack to its TCB TV special to No. 1. The musical TV event, which brought together Motown’s two biggest groups, aired on NBC on Dec. 9, 1968. The album spent six weeks at No. 1, beginning with the Jan. 18, 1969-dated chart.
Empire is also the first soundtrack of any kind to hit No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums since 2010, when the soundtrack to the film Michael Jackson‘s This Is It spent its fourth (and final) week at No. 1 on the chart dated Feb. 13, 2010.
Empire sold 110,000 copies in the week ending March 15, according to Nielsen Music.
Empire’s success also spreads to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where the album has six tracks on the 50-position tally. That’s the most simultaneous tracks that the show has posted on the list thus far. “You’re So Beautiful,” featuring Jussie Smollett & Yazz (who play brothers on the show), dips 18-26, while “Conqueror,” featuring Estelle, slips 15-29. “Good Enough,” featuring Smollett, re-enters at No. 33. Empire’s highest debut on the list is the vocally-charged R&B cut “What Is Love,” featuring V. Bozeman, which bows at No. 39. Two more re-entries round out Empire’s six-pack: “Drip Drop,” featuring Yazz & Serayah McNeill (No. 40) and “No Apologies,” featuring Smollett & Yazz (No. 46).
“You’re So Beautiful” led all of the songs in terms of streams for the week, with 1.4 million domestic clicks, with the majority stemming from Spotify. “What Is Love” was the second-most streamed Empire track, with 1.3 million.
Empire’s six tracks on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (dated March 28, 2015):
No. 26 – “You’re so Beautiful” featuring Jussie Smollett & Yazz
No. 29 – “Conquerer” featuring Estelle & Jussie Smollett
No. 33 – “Good Enough” featuring Jussie Smollett (Re-entry)
No. 39 – “What Is Love” featuring V. Bozeman (Debut)
No. 40 – “Drip Drop” featuring Yazz & Serayah McNeill (Re-entry)
No. 46 – “No Apologies” featuring Jussie Smollet & Yazz (Re-entry)
Wiz Khalifa’s Furious Debut: Elsewhere on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Wiz Khalifa earns the Hot Shot Debut as “See You Again,” featuring Charlie Puth, arrives at No. 30. The song, from the forthcoming Furious 7 soundtrack, sold 25,000 digital downloads in its first week, enough to land at No. 9 on Rap Digital Songs — Khalifa’s 14th top 10 debut on the chart. Featured act and co-writer Puth delivers the melodic accompaniment to Khalifa’s rap verses, and it marks his second song to make the Billboard charts. He previously spent one week on Pop Digital Songs in February with his song “Marvin Gaye,” featuring Meghan Trainor (No. 42).
LunchMoney Cashes In: LunchMoney Lewis makes his debut on Hot Rap Songs, as “Bills” arrives at No. 19. Its bow was spurred mostly by digital sales, as the cut rose 59 percent to 19,000 downloads sold for the week. A 48 percent jump in streams also aid in its entrance, climbing to 760,000 weekly clicks, led by Spotify plays (accounting for 53 percent of its overall streams).
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield