Why Isn't 'Empire's' Music Topping the Billboard Charts?

Chuck Hodes/FOX

Fox's 'Glee' was a big player in its heyday, but network execs are still hoping 'Empire' — which has been a ratings juggernaut — turns into a multiplatform success.

This story first appeared in the March 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In its heyday, Fox's musical dramedy Glee was as big a player on Billboard charts as it was in Nielsen ratings. By its fourth season in 2012, the show had generated more than 32 million downloads and the cast had become the No. 8 digital artist of all time.

But Fox's newest smash isn't hitting nearly the same high notes. Empire, whose Feb. 18 episode drew 13 million viewers (a 5.2 rating in the 18-to-49 demo), its best showing yet, hasn't generated a breakout musical success for label Sony Music/Columbia Records. The big difference? The cast records original songs (curated by producer Timbaland), unlike Glee's pop-tune covers. Fox execs who are hoping Empire will turn into a multiplatform juggernaut are still waiting.

Top 5 Song Sales

1. "Good Enough" - Jussie Smollett........................................... 83,000

2. "Keep Your Money" - Jussie Smollett.....................................54,000

3. "What Is Love" - V. Bozeman....................................................54,000

4. "No Apologies" - Jussie Smollett and Yazz............................53,000

5. "Drip Drop" - Yazz and Serayah McNeill..................................40,000

*Source: Nielsen Music, as of Feb. 15.

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