As forecasted a week ago, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with "The Heist." The hip-hop set sold 78,000 in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking the best sales week yet for either artist.
The album is Macklemore's second full-length effort, and teams him with producer Lewis. "The Heist" was released independently through Alternative Distribution Alliance and comes after years of steady growth for the act. Lewis' official YouTube channel has 47,000 subscribers (a growth of 5,000 from a week ago) and 25.5 million views (up 3 million). Meanwhile the duo's SoundCloud has amassed 1 million plays from seven tracks.
With such support via online services, it's no surprise to see that 83% of the album's first week consisted of download sales.
Macklemore and Lewis recently wrapped a sold-out European tour and launched a 50-show U.S. and Canada trek last week.
Above "The Heist" this week is Mumford & Sons' "Babel," which retains the top slot for a third straight frame (96,000; down 43%).
As both titles are independently distributed ("Babel" goes through RED), this marks only the second time the top two selling albums have been indie releases since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. It last happened on the Jan. 29, 2011 chart, when Cake's "Showroom of Compassion" and Cage the Elephant's "Thank You Happy Birthday" debuted at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Going further, "Babel" is the second-longest running No. 1 indie album in SoundScan history. Only Walt Disney Records' then-indie "The Lion King" soundtrack has racked more weeks at No. 1. The title roared atop the list for 10 non-consecutive weeks between 1994 and 1995.
Mumford will likely step aside next week on the chart, as Jason Aldean's "Night Train" is steaming towards No. 1. Expect a big debut for the country star, who will capture his first leader on the Billboard 200 with the set.
As for the rest of this week's top 10, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead a total of seven debuts in the region. Legendary rock band KISS crashes in at No. 3 with its new studio album, "Monster," shifting 56,000 in its first week. It's the group's 25th top 40 album and ties with 1998's "Psycho-Circus" as its second-highest charting album ever. Only its last studio album, 2009's "Sonic Boom," went higher -- when it debuted and peaked at No. 2.
MGK, aka Machine Gun Kelly, sees his debut effort, "Lace Up," start at No. 4 with 51,000. The Bad Boy/Interscope effort features collaborations with Tech N9ne, Lil Jon and Waka Flocka Flame, among others. Over on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, the album lands at No. 2 behind Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
Back on the Billboard 200, rock bands Coheed and Cambria and All Time Low debut at Nos. 5 and 6, respectively, with their latest sets, "Afterman: Ascension" and "Don't Panic." The albums bow with 49,000 and 48,000. It's Coheed's fourth top 10 while All Time Low notches its third top 10 effort.
Pop icon Barbra Streisand claims her 32nd top 10 album as "Release Me" takes a bow at No. 7 with 44,000 sold. The arrival extends her lead as the woman with the most top 10 albums in history. Among all acts, only Frank Sinatra (with 33) and the Rolling Stones (36) have earned more top 10s.
Streisand may soon overtake the Chairman, as she has been on a top 10 roll since 2003: All six of her chart entries since then have debuted in the top 10. Her current streak began with "The Movie Album" (which peaked at No. 3) and includes the No. 1 "Love Is The Answer" (2009).
P!nk's former No. 1, "The Truth About Love," falls from No. 4 to No. 8 with 36,000 (down 30%). One more non-debut appears in the top 10 this week: Muse's "The 2nd Law" slips 2-10 in its second frame, selling 31,000 (down 70%).
Ellie Goulding's "Halcyon" is the seventh and final arrival in the top 10, as the British singer's second album starts at No. 9 with 34,000. "Halcyon" easily surpasses the No. 21 peak of her debut set, "Lights."
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Taylor Swift yet again crowns the list as "I Knew You Were Trouble" bows at No. 1 with 416,000 downloads sold. It marks Swift's second-largest sales week ever for a song: Only the arrival of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" sold more (623,000 on the chart dated Sept. 1).
"I Knew You Were Trouble" is the fourth of five tracks Swift has released in advance of her "Red" album, due out Monday, Oct. 22. Next week will see the chart debut of "State of Grace," which hit retailers at midnight Tuesday (Oct. 16) morning.
At No. 2 this week on the Digital Songs tally is PSY's "Gangnam Style," which rises two rungs despite a loss in sales. It moved 231,000 last week -- down 10%.
Adele's "Skyfall" sold 199,000 (down 24%) in its first full charting week and holds at No. 3. (Released on the night of Thursday, Oct. 4, it debuted on the chart a week ago with only three full days of sales.)
Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" falls a slot to No. 7 (124,000; down 17%), Alex Clare's "Too Close" jumps 10-8 (108,000; up 6%) and Rihanna's "Diamonds" is steady at No. 9 (just under 108,000; down less than 1%). Closing out the top 10 is the title track from Swift's "Red" album (another early-release cut). It falls from No. 2 to No. 10 with 102,000 (down 67%).
With a three songs in the top 10 on the chart this week, Swift is only the second act to manage the this year -- following Adele. The latter claimed a trio of top 10 titles on both the Feb. 25 and March 3 charts (as she basked in the glow of her multiple Grammy Award wins).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Oct. 14) totaled 5.09 million units, down 5% compared with the sum last week (5.35 million) and down 3% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.22 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 228.87 million, down 4% compared with the same total at this point last year (238.85 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 22.09 million downloads, down 5% compared with last week (23.31 million) and up 4% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (21.34 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 1.054 billion, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (993.66 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Adele's "21" came back to No. 1, selling 106,000 (down 5%) while Casting Crowns' "Come to the Well" started at No. 2 with 99,000.