Spears No. 1 for 3rd week, tops 1 mil units

For the third consecutive week, blossoming pop star Britney Spears owned the bestselling album in the nation, with her Jive Records disc “Baby One More Time” posting sales of nearly 198,000 copies, according to sales data released Wednesday.

But after five weeks of sales increases, the disc’s tally slid by 31,000 copies from the previous week. Nevertheless, in just six weeks of release, the disc has sold over 1 million units through to consumers.

The Presidents Day holiday helped boost overall industry sales action during the period ended Feb. 21. Wednesday’s Grammy Awards will likely invigorate the sales of discs by presenters, performers and winners on the telecast.

Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” rose a notch to No. 2 — before her Grammy night wins — on sales of more than 122,000 copies for the Ruffhouse/Columbia Records disc.

The tally topped conglommate Offspring’s “Americana,” which slid a notch to No. 3 on sales of nearly 125,000 copies.

The Dixie Chicks’ Monument/ Sony disc “Wide Open Spaces,” which posted a one-notch rise to No. 4 on sales of nearly 97,000 copies, switched slots with ‘N-Sync’s eponymous RCA Records album. Less than 2,000 units separated the two albums.

The Death Row/Interscope best-of set from the late rapper Tupac Shakur held steady at No. 6 for the second consecutive week, while Cher’s latest, “Believe,” remained at No. 7.

The diva’s Warner Bros. disc went home with more than 86,000 fans, a tally that topped Tupac’s numbers by less than 500 copies.

Rappers DMX returned to the top 10 after a two-week absence with a three-slot boost to No. 8.

Nearly 83,000 copies of the Ruff Riders/Def Jam disc “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood” were sold, putting the disc over the 1.5 million unit mark in its ninth week of release.

Everlast’s “Whitey Ford Sings the Blues” held at No. 9 for the second week with sales of nearly 81,000 copies of the Tommy Boy disc.

The tally was sufficient to top the third installment of the World Wrestling Federation-sanctioned compilation disc, which was snapped up by 79,000 fans.

Sales of the Elektra Entertainment compilation discs featuring the 1999 Grammy Award nominees were significantly helped by direct-to-consumer TV ads touting the availability of the albums.

The pop version climbed 12 notches to No. 18 on sales of nearly 65,000 copies, while the disc sporting rap nominees rose 20 rungs to No. 66 on sales of nearly 24,000 copies.

TV also helped the soundtrack to CBS’ “Touched by an Angel,” which nabbed a 24-slot boost to No. 74, logging nearly 20,000 units to bring its total to nearly 613,000 copies. Songs on the 550/Epic Records disc are promoted at the show’s conclusion.

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