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Coldplay tops Billboard album chart with year's best sales week

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Coldplay's new album topped the Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday in its opening week, notching the highest weekly sales by any artist so far this year and scoring the British rock group its fourth No. 1 album on the chart.

"Ghost Stories," the sixth studio album from the quartet fronted by Chris Martin, sold 383,000 copies in the United States last week, according to figures compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

That beat country singer Eric Church's February release, "The Outsiders," for the top U.S. sales week this year by nearly 100,000 copies.

Downloads accounted for 64 percent of total sales for "Ghost Stories," Billboard said.

Country singer Brantley Gilbert's "Just As I Am" debuted at No. 2 on the chart with sales of 211,000 copies.

Michael Jackson's posthumous release, "Xscape," fell to third from second, while the hit soundtrack to Disney's $1.2 billion-grossing animated film, "Frozen," held at No. 4. Last week's top album, The Black Keys' "Turn Blue," dropped to No. 5.

New releases in the top 10 this week include singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips' "Behind the Light" at No. 7 followed by the soundtrack to the film "The Fault in Our Stars" at No. 8.

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea's song "Fancy" was the top download of the week with 336,000 in sales. It knocked a song that features Azalea, Ariana Grande's "Problem," from the No. 1 spot on the digital songs chart.

Total album sales for the past week ended May 25 were 4.77 million, a decline of 8 percent compared to the same week last year. Overall album sales for the year are down 15 percent compared to the same period last year.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Paul Simao)

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