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Madonna outshines Lionel Richie as No. 1 in Billboard charts

April 4, 2012 - New York

Madonna topped the Billboard 200 album chart for the eighth time on Tuesday, as her latest album "MDNA" beat Lionel Richie's country themed "Tuskegee" in the weekly sales list.

However the singer is reportedly being accused of using a sneaky move to win the crown.

In a heated war for No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week, Madonna found herself in a battle with an unlikely rival - Lionel Richie.

Heading into the Billboard 200 chart's unveiling last night, Richie's "Tuskegee" was projected as No. 1 over Her Madgesty's "MDNA," which would have ended Madonna's streak of five No. 1 album debuts, the New York Post reported.

Richie's album of duets with country stars Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift was No. 1 on the Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart, which tracks sales of music merchants including iTunes, Target and Best Buy before the Billboard chart comes out.

But Madge's new disc was able to outdo Richie's thanks to a promo campaign with Ticketmaster, in which her fans received a copy of "MDNA" when they bought a ticket to the Material Girl's US tour - and those copies were counted in her sales tally.

"It's not a free album," an industry source explains of the promo copies of "MDNA."

"While the public may view it as free, it's actually bundled into the price of the ticket," the source added.

Madonna's album sold 359,000 copies in its debut, including the promo copies. "Tuskegee" rang up 199,000 copies, which was Richie's best start since SoundScan began tracking sales back in 1991.


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