‘N Sync’s ‘Strings’ ties up top spot

Santana a distant second

Selling more than 811,000 copies of “No Strings Attached” (Jive), boy-band ‘N Sync retained its lock on the top spot of the national music charts, according to sales data released Wednesday. The history-making disc has shifted more than 3.2 million units in its first 14 days of release.

‘N Sync’s sales for the week ending April 2 were nearly quadruple the 212,000 copies moved by runner-up Santana’s “Supernatural” (Arista). Third place — and highest-debut honors for the week — went to the various artists’ hip-hop/R&B soundtrack to “Romeo Must Die” (Virgin), which racked up more than 203,000.

The week’s other top 10 debut came from rapper Drag-on’s “Opposite of H20” (Interscope), which topped 159,000 copies to cop the fifth-place spot.

Meanwhile, rapper Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate” (MCA) and country vocalist Trisha Yearwood’s “Real Live Woman” (MCA Nashville) debuted at No. 16 and No. 27 with sales of more than 72,000 and 52,000 units, respectively.

Jay-Z’s jump

Rapper Jay-Z’s “Life and Times of S. Carter” (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam) took the biggest sales jump of the week, up more than 12,000 copies.

Aided by Phil Collins’ Oscar-winning performance on the March 26 Academy Awards telecast, the soundtrack to “Tarzan” (Walt Disney) posted a sales increase of more than 7,000 units.

Other artists who appeared on the Academy Awards telecast that posted gains were country-pop vocalist Faith Hill, whose “Breathe” (Warner Bros.) was up more than 2,000 units; and Aimee Mann, star of the “Magnolia” (Warner Bros.) soundtrack, which jumped more than 3,000 units.

Elsewhere, notable gains were racked up by rapper DMX’s “And Then There Was X” (Ruff Ryders/Def Jam), up more than 6,000 units; Sting’s “Brand New Day” (A&M/Interscope), up more than 5,000 units; Elton John’s soundtrack to “The Road to El Dorado” (DreamWorks/Interscope), 3 Doors Down’s “Better Life” (Republic/Universal) and Lit’s “A Place in the Sun” (RCA), all up more than 4,000 units.

The Universal Music Group reclaimed the lion’s share of the week’s current album market with 26.9%, followed by BMG, 23.1%; Sony, 14.8%; Warner, 12.7%; and EMI, 10.2%.

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