It isn’t just TV ratings that “Empire” is dominating — the soundtrack to the hit Fox drama debuted at the top of the U.S. album sales chart, selling 130,000 units in the week ending March 15, according to data from Nielsen Music.
Judging by the size of its fanbase, the Lyon family might be on its way to joining the ranks of beloved singing families Partridge and von Trapp. The original songs on the soundtrack — overseen by the show’s executive music producer, Timbaland — include contributions from cast members Terrence Howard and Jussie Smollett as well as Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Courtney Love and Juicy J.
The success of the “Empire” collection is nearly matched by pop empress Madonna, whose new album, “Rebel Heart,” moved 121,000 units. The strong outing for Madonna’s 13th studio album adds to her already pristine Billboard track record, which boasts 21 top 10 albums (13 studio albums and a handful of greatest hits collections, live recordings and soundtracks). According to Billboard, only Barbra Streisand tops Madonna in the race for most top 10 albums for a woman — Streisand has 33.
“Bro country” paragon Luke Bryan rounds out the top three’s trio of new albums, with his “Spring Break…Checkin’ Out” moving 106,000 units in its first week. The latest installment of Bryan’s continuing “Spring Break” saga debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart.
The rest of the chart offers few surprises. The soundtrack to “Fifty Shades of Grey” dips from second place to fourth, down 25% with 72,000 units moved. Taylor Swift remains in the top five, from which her resilient “1989” has not budged. Swift’s 62,000 units land her in fifth place, down 19% from last week.
The latter half of the top 10 is masculine territory. Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning “In the Lonely Hour” has demonstrated serious staying power, this week jumping from 8 up to 6 with 61,000 units moved, a 23% increase. This marks the album’s 32nd nonconsecutive week in the top 10, which is the most weeks in the top 10 for an album by a male artist since Usher’s “Confessions” accumulated 41 weeks in 2005.
Drake’s “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” finished at No. 7 behind Smith with 58,000 units moved, down 20% from his No. 4 finish last week. Ed Sheeran drops into eighth place with 53,000 units, down 15% after coming in fifth last week. Maroon 5’s “V” also slid, with 48,000 units putting them at No. 9, down 4%.
Big Sean’s “Dark Sky Paradise” brings up the rear with 38,000 units, down 35% and dropping from No. 6 to No. 10.