Week Ending Sept. 30, 2012. Albums: Mumfordmania!
Mumford & Sons' sophomore album Babel sold 600K copies in its first week, which is the biggest first-week total by any album since Drake's Take Care sold 631K in its first week in November. Babel sold more copies than the next seven albums on The Billboard 200 combined. That's especially impressive because those seven albums include new releases by such heavyweight acts as Green Day and No Doubt.
"If you (had) told me in the '90s that I'd be in a chart battle with Green Day, I probably would have just laughed at you," Mumford & Sons' member Ted Dwane told the British rock publication NME. Mumford & Sons is not only in such a battle, it is winning it with ease. Babel outsold Uno! in its first week by a margin of more than four-to-one in the U.S. and more than three-to-one in the U.K.
Babel posted the biggest first-week tally for a rock album since AC/DC's Black Ice debuted with sales of 784K in October 2008. (Mumford & Sons, which blends strains of contemporary folk and alternative music, and hard rock veterans AC/DC are at opposite ends of the rock spectrum, to be sure.)
Babel also debuts at #1 in the U.K. It's Mumford & Sons' first #1 album in both the U.S. and the U.K. The group's 2010 debut album, Sigh No More, peaked at #2 in both countries. Babel is the first album by a U.K. act to reach #1 in both countries since Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto a year ago.
Babel sold 420K digital copies in the U.S., which is the second-largest one-week tally ever for a digital album. The old record belonged to Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which sold 662K digital copies in its first week in May 2011. (Gaga's record comes with an asterisk. Her digital tally includes an estimated 400K copies that were sold for 99-cents by Amazon MP3 during release week.) Babel set a new record for the highest one-week digital sales tally for a rock album. The old record was held by Mylo Xyloto, which sold 302K digital copies in its first week in October 2011.
Many music fans first became aware of Mumford & Sons when they performed on the Grammy Awards in February 2011 in a segment on contemporary folk music with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers. Sigh No More had sold 766K copies prior to Grammy night, but it exploded immediately afterward. The album shot to #2, where it spent two weeks.
Sigh No More is one of the best-selling albums of the past few years, with sales of 2,477,000 copies. The album has ranked in the top half of The Billboard 200 every week since June 2010. This week, it rebounds from #29 to #12 its 132nd week on the chart.