Ray of Light is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Madonna, released on March 3, 1998 by Maverick Records. After giving birth to her daughter Lourdes, Madonna collaborated with Patrick Leonard and William Orbit in developing the album. After failed sessions with other producers, Madonna pursued a new musical direction with Orbit and incorporated his extensive usage of trance and electronic music in her songs. The recording took place over four months, but experienced problems with the Pro Tools arrangement by Orbit as well as the absence of live bands.
However, upon release, the album was lauded by contemporary critics as a music masterpiece of the decade. Reviewers complimented the album for its mature, restrained nature as well as commending Madonna's musical direction, calling it her "most adventurous" record. Commercially, the album was a success on the world charts, peaking at number one in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and mainland Europe. On the U.S. Billboard 200, the album debuted and peaked at number two. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it Quadruple Platinum on March 16, 2000, recognizing four million shipments in the United States, making it her fifth best-selling recording there. Worldwide, Ray of Light sold 14 million copies.