'Les Miserables' Soundtrack Sales Sizzle, Top 10 Bound on Billboard 200
'Les Miserables' Soundtrack Sales Sizzle, Top 10 Bound on Billboard 200

The "Les Miserables" soundtrack album jumps to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week with 92,000 copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan.

It's the first No. 1 soundtrack on the Billboard 200 since the "Hunger Games" album opened atop the April 7, 2012 list. To find the last musical film soundtrack to the lead the list, we have to look to "Hannah Montana: The Movie" on May 2, 2009. Finally, the last stage musical-turned-movie musical to see its companion album reach No. 1 was "Mamma Mia!" in 2008.

"Les Miserables" saw a 32% decline in sales in the week ending Jan. 6, but it was enough to beat a surging "Babel" from Mumford & Sons. That latter album zooms from No. 8 to No. 2 with 91,000 sold -- up a big 34%.

With a little more than 1,000 copies separating the top two titles on the chart, it's the smallest gap between Nos. 1 and 2 since the July 14, 2012-dated chart. That week, Linkin Park's debuting "Living Things" beat Maroon 5's also-debuting "Overexposed" by just a bit more than 1,000 as well.

When rounding sales figures to the nearest thousand -- as Billboard does with SoundScan figures -- it renders the difference between very small numbers sometimes indistinguishable. That said, the gap between Linkin Park and Maroon 5 was a few hundred units smaller than that of "Les Miserables" and Mumford & Sons.

This week also marks the first frame where no title sold over 100,000 since the chart dated Oct. 27, 2012, when "Babel" shifted 96,000 in its third week at No. 1. "Les Miserables'" 92,000 is the weakest week at No. 1 since the Sept. 15 chart, when tobyMac's "Eye On It" bowed atop the list with 69,000.

The soft sales at No. 1 this week are owed to the lack of major new releases and the usual post-Christmas slowdown in the marketplace. Overall album sales are down by 36% as compared to the previous frame.

As noted earlier, Mumford & Sons' former No. 1 album "Babel" scoots up six slots to No. 2 with 91,000 (up 34%). The title was sale priced for $6.99 in the iTunes Store last week for a limited time and received major promotion from the retailer. It touted "Babel" on the front page of its overall store and featured the album in its "new release" section (even though it's been out for months). Of its sales last week, 83% were downloads.

A few more titles in the top 10 benefit from iTunes promotions and sale pricing, including Phillip Phillips' "The World From the Side of the Moon" (11-4 with 63,000; up 8%), Alicia Keys' "Girl On Fire" (18-9 with 44,000; up 6%) and P!nk's "The Truth About Love" (14-10 with 41,000; down 22%). The latter moves up the chart despite its decline in sales as its erosion is relatively small compared to most of the titles near it on the tally.

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Last week's No. 1 album, Taylor Swift's "Red," slips to No. 3 with 69,000 (down 72%). Its sales a week ago were pumped by a one day $1.99 sale tag on Dec. 24 in the Amazon MP3 store. So naturally, its sales fall apart this week.

As for the rest of the top 10, One Direction's "Take Me Home" drops 3-5 (61,000; down 49%), Bruno Mars' "Unorthodox Jukebox" slips 4-6 (55,000; down 50%), and the "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack rises to a new peak, moving 10-7 (despite a sales decline) with 52,000 (down 10%). The Lumineers' self-titled album also climbs to a new peak, 9-8, with 51,000 (down 17%).

On the Digital Songs chart, after last week's gift card redemption frenzy wreaked havoc on the tally, things have somewhat calmed down. Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" holds at No. 1 with 326,000 (down 44%) downloads sold while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz) jumps 7-2 with 236,000 (down 22%).

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Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" dips 2-3 (233,000; down 53%), will.i.am & Britney Spears' "Scream & Shout" climbs 9-4 (203,000; down 29%) and Phillip Phillips' "Home" vaults 10-5 (196,000; down 30%). PSY's "Gangnam Style" falls 3-6 (192,000; down 52%), the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" descends 6-7 (186,000; down 39%) and Justin Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat" (featuring Nicki Minaj) tumbles 4-8 (173,000; down 53%). Rounding out the top 10: Rihanna's "Diamonds" (5-9 with 160,000; down 56%) and Swedish House Mafia's "Don't You Worry Child" (featuring John Martin) rises 16-10 (153,000; down 28%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Jan. 6) totaled 6.26 million units, down 36% compared with the sum last week (9.77 million) and up 8% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.80 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 34.53 million downloads, down 38% compared with last week (55.74 million) and up 5% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (32.77 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Adele's "21" stayed firm at No. 1 with 104,000 (down 16%) while David Crowder Band's "Give Us Rest" bowed at No. 2 with 51,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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