By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British boy band One Direction made chart history on Wednesday as its third album debuted at No. 1 on the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 album chart, the only group to have its first three albums top the chart in opening week sales.
The quintet's "Midnight Memories" sold 546,000 copies, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan.
The group's first album, "Up All Night" and second record "Take Me Home," both released in 2012, also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, but with smaller opening week sales.
One Direction, comprised of singers Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan, was formed on the U.K. reality singing television show "The X Factor" in 2010 and has gone on to conquer the United States with songs such as "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Story of My Life."
The band's music is targeted at a young audience, and its fans are mainly teenage girls, dubbed "Directioners." The group has more than 16 million Twitter followers and 22 million Facebook fans.
One Direction's big opening week marks an increase in overall album sales for the week ending December 1, due to the shopping boost during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Total album sales were 8.6 million for the week, up 14 percent from the comparable week in 2012, according to Billboard.
Only one other new album debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 this week. Country singer Garth Brooks came in at No. 3 with a box set of music called "Blame It on My Roots," which sold 164,000 copies in an exclusive deal with retailer Walmart.
On the digital songs chart, which measures single track downloads, rapper Pitbull's song "Timber" featuring Ke$ha climbed from No. 4 to No. 1 with 237,000 downloads, benefiting from the duo performing the song at the November 24 American Music Awards.
Eminem's "Monster" featuring Rihanna dropped one spot to No. 2, while A Great Big World's "Say Something" featuring Christina Aguilera climbed three spots to No. 3 this week, also benefiting from a performance at the AMA.
(Editing by Eric Kelsey; editing by Jackie Frank)