Guardians of the Billboard 200

The soundtrack to "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the first in history to hit No. 1 without including a single original song. But that feat doesn't mean anything near what it used to.
Prince's "Purple Rain" sold more than 10 times as many albums as "Guardians" on its first day.

In the age of on-demand, digital-streaming music, who has the superpowers necessary to transform a motley collection of AM radio hits from the 1970s into the No. 1 album in the U.S.? The answer, as summer movie fans know, is Disney's almighty Marvel Entertainment Group, maker and marketer of billion-dollar-grossing superhero films, including this summer's "Guardians of the Galaxy." This week, the movie's soundtrack became the first in history to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 without including a single original tune. Everything -- from the first track, Blue Swede's "Hooked on a Feeling" to the 12th, Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell dueting on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" -- is at least three decades old and easily available as a free download (legal or otherwise) or digital stream.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.