…Despite outselling the cast of ‘Empire’, who’ve landed at number 1.

In a strange turn of events, Madonna won’t be number 1 on the Billboard charts tomorrow, despite selling more copies of her album, ‘Rebel Heart’, than the cast of Empire did of the soundtrack to their first season.

In actual fact, because of new streaming rules, Madge has been pipped to the post for the first time since 1998’s “Ray of Light”.

According to Hits Daily Double, Madonna will impact on the Billboard 200 at number 2 tomorrow, having actually sold over 9,000 copies more than Empire – ‘Rebel Heart’ moved 116,472 albums in comparison to ‘Empire’ which shifted 107,140.

Unfortunately for the “Living for Love” star, new (and controversial) streaming rules dictate that every thousand streams count for one album sold, meaning that the final numbers look more like 121,972 to Madonna and 128,640 to the cast of Empire.

It’s a real shame for the Material Girl, as this means ‘Rebel Heart’ is now her first record since the ’90s to miss the number 1 spot in the US. ‘Ray of Light’ debuted at number 2 in 1998, also held off the top spot by a soundtrack (in the case of ‘Ray of Light’, it was the soundtrack to Titanic). It’s Madonna’s 5th album to miss the top of the Billboard charts, joining the aforementioned ‘Ray of Light’, 1994’s mercilessly underrated ‘Bedtime Stories’, the still controversial ‘Erotica’ from ’92, and her self-titled 1983 debut.

There’s better news from down-under as Madge topped the Australian album charts this week. ‘Rebel Heart’ is now M’s record breaking 11th number 1 in the land of Aus – a feat which only U2 have managed to equal, tying her for the most number 1 albums on the ARIA charts.

It’s swings and roundabouts though; Madonna also debuted at number 2 in the UK, despite being by and far in the lead in the midweek chart count, Sam Smith steamed ahead at the last minute. She does maintain her position as the best selling female artist of all time in Britain, however, with cumulative sales of a staggering 7.65 million albums.

So what went wrong for the “Hung Up” hit-maker? The material was her best in years, the promotional strategy’s been spot on, what gives?

Arguably the biggest stumbling block in Madonna’s album campaign was pretty much the entire record leaking months and months before the release date, but radio’s unwillingness to get on-board with the still fantastic lead single, “Living for Love”, will undoubtedly have played its part as well. It seems abundantly clear that the general population have put Madge out to pasture, and whilst Madonna’s fans will mostly buy her albums, they’re far more interested in getting tickets to see her in concert. ‘MDNA’, Madonna’s last studio effort, peaked at number 1 largely because it was offered as a gratuity when people bought a ticket to see the MDNA Tour – a tactic that Billboard have since outlawed.

Madonna won’t be giving up though, she’s appearing on The Ellen Show all week and is rumored to be making one final stop over at The Late Show with David Letterman before the host’s retirement this May. Although it’s doubtful that she’ll take the top spot now, hopefully ‘Rebel Heart’ can achieve more consistent sales than 2012’s ‘MDNA’, which still holds the record for the biggest drop in sales between the first and second weeks on the chart.

Why do YOU think Madonna missed the number 1 spot?