Proving once again that sex sells, "Rolling Stone" cover girl Britney Spears saw a huge bump in her album sales after her controversial layout in the magazine hit stands.
According to sales figures released by Soundscan on Wednesday, sales of Spears' "Baby One More Time" leapt from 167,000 to 272,000 last week, helping the teen star retain the number one spot on the album chart.
While the "Rolling Stone" spread (which features Spears clad in little more than a bra in two shots and sequined short shorts in another) has boosted sales, it may be scaring off sponsors. As we reported early on Wednesday, Nestle is reportedly rethinking its sponsorship of Spears' upcoming tour (see "Britney Spears On Sponsor-Scaring Pix: 'It's Fine And It's Tasteful'").
The top three albums will remain unchanged on next week's chart as TLC's "FanMail" holds on to number two, and Eminem's "Slim Shady" stays at number three.
du jour Andrea Bocelli boasts the biggest debut of the week as his "Sogno" lands at number four after selling just under 149,000 in its first week in stores.
The slightly louder "Family Values Tour" live album also scores a top ten debut after selling more than 121,000 copies in week one to take the number seven slot.
The rest of the week's notable debuts come courtesy of the battle of the soundtracks. "The Matrix" scores the highest chart entry among the armload of new soundtrack arrivals after selling more than 66,000 copies to claim number 18. The soundtrack to Eddie Murphy's animated series "The PJs" is a distant second, debuting at number 86. Meanwhile the No Doubt-fueled soundtrack to "Go" arrives at number 137 while the "Mod Squad" soundtrack sneaks into the top 200 at 184.
Overall, sales were up last week with 47 of the top 50 albums boasting a sales increase over the previous week.