It’s official: Fox TV’s breakout hit series Empire crashes in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as its soundtrack debuts atop the list after a battle was brewing between it and Madonna’s new Rebel Heart album.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
The Empire soundtrack was released March 10 through Columbia Records and bows with 130,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 15, according to Nielsen Music. It’s the first TV soundtrack to debut at No. 1 since 2010, when three different Glee albums arrived atop the list. (Both Empire and Glee air on Fox TV.)
Madonna’s Rebel Heart, also issued on March 10, starts in the No. 2 slot with 121,000 units. The Live Nation/Interscope Records release is Madonna’s 21st top 10 album.
1 (-) MADONNA – REBEL HEART (INTERSCOPE) 116,472 —
2 (-) EMPIRE CAST – SOUNDTRACK, SEASON 1 (TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX/COLUMBIA) 107,140 —
3 (-) LUKE BRYAN – SPRING BREAK…CHECKIN’ OUT (CAPITOL NASHVILLE) 83,658 —
4 (3) TAYLOR SWIFT – 1989 (BIG MACHINE) 39,145 -7%
5 (2) FIFTY SHADES OF GREY – SOUNDTRACK (REPUBLIC) 36,606 -36%
Madonna, saying something controversial? Perish the thought.
The object of her scorn fighting back? Of course.
The mayor of Rochester, Michigan, has written an open letter to the venerable pop star, taking her to task for saying she never wanted to go back the town where she went to high school.
“I can’t be around basic, provincial-thinking people,” she told Howard Stern last week on his SiriusXM satellite radio program.
You could almost hear the steam coming out of Mayor Bryan Barnett’s ears.
“It’s like someone calling one of your kids ugly,” the Detroit Free Press quoted Barnett as saying. “You’re not going to let that go by without a response.”
In his letter, published Monday in the Free Press, Barnett said the city’s recent achievements are anything but provincial.
“Our school district is one of the top performing in the state and boasts two Blue Ribbon Schools, the most in Michigan. Our Universities are among the fastest growing in the Midwest and are rich with cultural and ethnic diversity,” he wrote.
“We design and build more robots than any other city in North America, and Rochester Hills residents and businesses have been granted over 900 patents, nearly one a day, over the last three years. Not a typical achievement you would associate with ‘simple or basic’ people,” he wrote.
He also noted the city was also named one of the 10 best places to live by Money magazine.
“We are many things, Madonna, but basic and provincial minded we are not!” Barnett wrote. “I invite you back to Rochester Hills to see who we are and what we believe in. While we certainly don’t need your stamp of approval, I am quite confident we would earn it.”
Not surprisingly, some Rochester Hills citizens weren’t thrilled with Madonna’s comments.
“Makes me proud to live in Rochester Hills after reading this letter to Madonna by @MayorBarnett,” Twitter user LoganBrown97 wrote.
Tommorow on Ellen’s Madonna Week
Ellen via Twitter
Due to overwhelming demand, Madonna has added additional dates to sold out performances in Germany, Italy and Montreal to the 2015 Rebel Heart Tour:
Sept 10 – Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre (On sale March 21 @Noon Local Time)
Nov 05 – Koln, Germany – Lanxess Arena (On sale March 23 @ 9am Local Time)
Nov 11 – Berlin, Germany – Mercedes-Benz Arena (On sale March 23 @ 9am Local Time)
Nov 22 – Turin, Italy – Pala Alpitour (On sale March 24 @ 10am Local Time)
Tickets for these added shows will go on pre-sale to ICON members on Wednesday, March 18 at 10AM local time (Legacy members) / 11AM local time (Live Pass members). Secure your Icon Live Pass now to access the exclusive pre-sales!