Britney Spears basks in ‘Glory’ of No. 3 debut

It’s not her crowning Glory, but Britney Spears’ latest is off to a solid start. The pop diva’s ninth album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 111,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music. That total includes 88,000 pure album sales, 113,000 song sales and 18.1 million streams. Glory’s start is a slight improvement over her last album Britney Jean, which began at No. 4 with 107,000 copies sold in December 2013. “You’ve got an artist that’s very well-developed into her career, so these numbers are about what we’d expect,” says David Bakula, Nielsen Entertainment’s senior vice president of analytics. “Obviously, we’re far past the (peak) days of Britney, where hit single after hit single drove album sales.” But with Make Me, which hit No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, “we’ve got a decent-sized single driving it. It’s not the single of the year, it wasn’t doing really tremendous numbers.” USA TODAY The 5 essential tracks from Britney Spears’ ‘Glory’ Spears was overtaken on the chart this week by new releases from Florida Georgia Line, whose Dig Your Roots began at No. 2 (145,000 units sold), and Barbra Streisand, who notched her 11th No. 1 album with Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. Encore exceeded expectations with 149,000 units sold, bolstered by favorable reviews and star-studded duets with Melissa McCarthy, Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway and Jamie Foxx. It extends Streisand’s record for the most No. 1 albums by a woman and continues her streak as the only artist to top the chart in six different decades (beginning in the 1960s), according to Billboard. Spears, meanwhile, last hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with Femme Fatale in 2011. Her other chart-toppers include 2008’s Circus, 2003’s In the Zone, 2001’s Britney and 1999 debut … Baby One More Time. She aggressively promoted Glory with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Today and James Corden’s popular The Late Late Show segment “Carpool Karaoke.” She also returned to the MTV Video Music Awards stage last week after a nearly 10-year absence, performing Make Me with featured rapper G-Eazy. USA TODAY 5 best duets on Streisand’s star-studded album “The fact that (the album roll-out) was so traditional is interesting in itself,” says Billboard senior editor Jem Aswad. Rather than “go completely overboard with a streaming campaign or social media stunt, they probably just wanted to play to her audience,” which skews toward women and gay men in their 20s and 30s who grew up listening to the 34-year-old pop star. Despite releasing a handful of songs off Glory leading up to its release, the album has yet to spawn any more Hot 100 singles. But sales and radio airplay may be less of a concern for Spears, considering that she continues to sell out shows in Las Vegas with her Britney: Piece of Me residency, which launched in late 2013. “Britney’s become one of those artists that are almost heritage artists,” Aswad says. “Usually when artists are in their icon phase, they’re not having as many hit singles. They’re mostly touring and putting out records. It’s the level The Rolling Stones are at — they put out new songs and nobody really cares. Britney’s not to that point yet, but icon status means the hit singles are a bit less important.” USA TODAY Britney Spears felt up G-Eazy during her shaky VMAs performance


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