Empire soundtrack eclipses Madonna for Billboard No.1 album

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Empire, the Fox television hip-hop drama that became a hit in its first season, made its mark with music fans as its soundtrack debuted at No.1 and beat Madonna for the top slot in the weekly Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday.

The soundtrack sold 130,000 units, ahead of 121,000 units for Madonna's 13th and brand new studio album, Rebel Heart, for the week that ended on March 15, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.

Madonna sold more albums, 116,000, to the Empire soundtrack's 110,000.

The Billboard 200 chart tallies album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album). Empire, the story of a hip-hop recording dynasty, is the first TV soundtrack to debut at No.1 since 2010, when three albums from another Fox show, Glee, arrived, Billboard said.

The third spot on the chart was also for a debut album, country star Luke Bryan's Spring Break...Checkin' Out, which sold 106,000 units. 1989 from Taylor Swift, the top-selling album of 2014, slipped from No.3 to No.5, and extended its run in the chart's top five since its release 20 weeks ago.

Last week's chart-topper, pop singer Kelly Clarkson's Piece By Piece dropped precipitously to No. 12.

On the Digital Songs chart, which measures online song sales, Mark Ronson's and Bruno Mars' upbeat Uptown Funk! remained at No. 1 with 189,000 downloads in the past week.