By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country-pop star Taylor Swift held onto the top spot on the Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday as her latest album "Red" kept rapper Meek Mill from the top spot.
"Red," Swift's fourth studio album safely took the No. 1 position after selling 344,000 copies according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.
Last week, "Red" scored the highest first week U.S. sales in a decade after selling 1.2 million copies. The album has outsold One Direction's "Up All Night" to become the second-biggest album of 2012, behind Adele's juggernaut record "21," which has sold more than 4 million copies this year.
Rapper Meek Mill entered the chart at No. 2 with his debut studio album "Dreams & Nightmares," selling 164,000 copies. The rapper collaborated with fellow Maybach Music artists for his debut, including Trey Songz, Wale, Rick Ross and Mary J. Blige.
Ahead of the holiday season, two festive albums debuted on the chart, with veteran crooner Rod Stewart's "Merry Christmas Baby" at No. 3 and Trans-Siberian Orchestra's extended play record "Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night)" at No. 9.
Country singer Toby Keith landed at No. 6 with his latest album "Hope on the Rocks," following his appearance and best music video win at the County Music Association (CMA) awards last week.
Country group Little Big Town also saw a boost from their CMA vocal group of the year win as their album "Tornado" climbed the chart to No. 10.
Canadian singer Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse scored their second top ten album this year with "Psychedelic Pill" at No. 8, following their "Americana" album in June.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Korean rapper Psy held the top spot with his infectious dance-pop single "Gangnam Style," while Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" remained at No. 2 and Ke$ha's "Die Young" was a non-mover at No. 3.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, editing by Jill Serjeant)
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