Mumford & Sons are officially the biggest band on the planet.
The London lads scored the best debut sales week of 2012 with their sophomore album Babel, which moved 600,000 copies in its first week and easily topped the Billboard 200. Their last album, Sigh No More, which quietly sold 2.5 million copies over the course of two and a half years (and consequently jumped to No. 10 this week!) peaked at No. 2 during the week of the Grammys in 2011, when Mumford took the stage with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers.
Babel’s amazing sales far outshine the next-best debut of the year, Justin Bieber’s Believe, which sold 374,000 copies in its first week. And the album marked the best debut since Drake’s Take Care moved 630,000 units in November. Still, Babel will have to settle for second place in terms of overall sales weeks in 2012 – Adele’s 21 sold 730,000 copies in the frame following the Grammys, her album’s 52nd(!) week.
Of the 600,000 copies that Babel sold, a whopping 420,000 (72 percent) of them were digital albums. That’s the second-biggest digital sales week ever behind Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which sold 662,000 digital copies thanks, in part, to its controversial 99-cent deal on Amazon.
According to a representative for the streaming service Spotify, Babel was streamed over 8 million times in its first week, which is “three times more than the album that previously held the ‘most streamed in a week’ title.” Whether all that streaming encouraged or inhibited sales is up for debate, but it at least suggests that records – especially good ones like Babel – can get streamed (legally!) and still sell in mass quantities. So bravo, Mumford!
In second and third place on the chart were a pair of acts that proved their appeal transcends mere 1990s nostalgia – even if they sold less than one quarter of what Mumford & Sons did.
Green Day took the No. 2 spot with Uno!, the first in their trilogy of albums debuting in the next few months, selling 139,000 copies. Their last album, 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown started in first place with 215,000.
Billie Joe Armstrong had a 21st century breakdown of his own at the iHeartRadio Festival recently. Do you think it hurt or helped Uno!’s sales?
That left No Doubt to round out the Top 3. The Gwen Stefani-fronted troupe sold 113,000 copies of Push and Shove – an impressive feat considering the album’s lead single “Settle Down” floundered. No Doubt’s last album of original material was 2001’s Rock Steady, which debuted at No. 9 with sales of 255,000. (Sigh) Those were different times.
P!nk’s chart-topping The Truth About Love was fourth, falling 64 percent to 94,000 in its second week, ahead of new debuts from Lupe Fiasco and deadmau5, who finished at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively. Fiasco sold 89,000 of Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, a sharp decline from 2011’s Lasers, which debuted to 211,000. Super EDM producer/DJ deadmau5, meanwhile, had his best sales week ever with album title goes here, which moved 58,000 units.
What did you pick up last week? Are you surprised by Mumford’s gigantic sales?