On the Charts: Mumford & Sons' 'Babel' Scores Biggest Debut of 2012

Plus: Pink plunges, Lupe Fiasco starts strong

Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
October 3, 2012 11:10 AM ET

WINNER OF THE WEEK: Mumford & Sons. And Spotify. Suddenly, the low-key British folk-rockers join Adele, Taylor Swift and Lil Wayne on the ever-more-exclusive list of Artists Who Can Sell More Than Two or Three Hundred Thousand Albums in Their Debut Weeks. Mumford did it not with ridiculous bargains, like Lady Gaga's Amazon deal last year or Madonna's concert-ticket bundle, but with Spotify exposure. According to the Los Angeles Times, Babel streamed more than 8 million times, and the buzz led to 600,000 in first-week sales. Also helpful: The band has been playing Babel songs for months on a successful tour. I'm still not convinced Mumford can maintain this showing, but it would be great for the record business if it happened – it points to a new marketing blueprint for big names.

LOSER OF THE WEEK: Pink. But it's perhaps not fair to pick on The Truth About Love, because, as I've been screaming for most of this year, almost every (non-Adele) album that hits Number One in today's record business plunges the next week. The album drops 66 percent, from Number One to Number Four on the Billboard chart, with sales of 94,000. (It hit Number One on Billboard last week with 280,000 copies.) Overall, it's a strong week for new albums after a late-summer malaise: Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 (Number Two on iTunes); the Killers' Battle Born (Number Three); Deadmau5's Album Title Goes Here (Number Four); Green Day's first-of-three !Uno! (Number Seven); and, of course, Mumford & Sons' Babel (Number One).

PSY WATCH: Thanks to Stacey Anderson for her worthy Chart Watch pinch-hitting last week while I was out to atone for ripping too harshly on Fiona Apple's chart performance and other sins. Stacey kept you posted on Psy's "Gangnam Style" performance, and at the risk of piling on hype and further fueling the "Gangnam Style" backlash, I note that in the two weeks since I last wrote this column, his YouTube views increased from 221.5 million to 353.3 million (now with a Microsoft Internet Explorer ad embedded at the beginning of the video!). Even better (or worse, depending on your perspective), Psy has promised to do the sexy-pony dance shirtless if he hits Number One on Billboard – which seems likely, today, after his Number One iTunes showing last week.

LAST WEEK: Pink Pops Ahead to Number One

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