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Britney Spears' new album tops U.S. sales chart

Britney Spears’ new album debuted at the top of U.S. sales charts, making her the first female solo act to reach No. 1 with her first three albums, according to statistics released Wednesday.

And she’s not even 20 yet.

The 19-year-old pop teen queen’s new album “Britney” sold 745,744 copies in the week ended Nov. 11, usurping the sales figure crown from Michael Jackson, the self-proclaimed “King of Pop,” according to SoundScan, which tracks retail music sales.

Jackson’s “Invincible,” his first album of original music in six years, fell to No. 3 with sales of 202,341 copies this past week, its second week in stores, down from 366,272 units in its first week of release.

Rock legend Pink Floyd’s new compilation album, “Echoes – Best of Pink Floyd,” ranked No. 2 with 214,650 units sold.

Spears’ total stood as the second-largest sales figure for the first week of any new album released this year, behind only ‘N Sync’s “Celebrity,” which sold nearly 1.9 million units in its first week back in July.

Industry watchers said Jackson’s 45 percent decline was about on par with other superstar acts in the genre this year, including his sister, Janet Jackson, whose sales fell 49 percent in the second week, and Destiny’s Child, which dropped 45 percent.

“Michael had the kind of week you generally have after being No. 1 in the first week. Some albums even have steeper declines and I expect he’ll probably have a bounce from his TV special,” said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts for Billboard.

Jackson drew big ratings on CBS Tuesday night with his nationally televised concert special, “Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration,” compiled from two all-star concert tributes taped Sept. 7 and 10 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The two-hour special averaged more than 25 million viewers, boosting CBS to its biggest Tuesday night ratings with non-sports programming since 1994.

Music industry watchers said Spears’ first-week total of 745,744 copies was probably at the higher end of expectations, though down from the 1.3 million debut for her “Oops!…I Did It Again” in May 2000, reflecting a general downturn in the music business that has even affected the seemingly once invincible teen pop juggernaut.

Spears’ turnout is also more than the combined sales of current albums by rival teen queens Jessica Simpson (513,000 units) and Mandy Moore (227,000 copies) in their entire chart runs.

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