Country trio Lady Antebellum earns its third No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart as its new Golden debuts with 167,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The album sold slightly better than initially forecast: A week ago, industry sources suggested that Golden was to move around 150,000 copies. But the album performed well over the weekend, thus granting it a more robust debut. Blame Mother's Day gift shopping for some of that sales bump, as the holiday fell on the final day of the tracking week, Sunday, May 12.
Golden follows Lady Antebellum's previous No. 1s Own the Night (2011) and Need You Now (2010). Their first set, a self-titled effort released in 2008, debuted and peaked at No. 4. Own the Night started bigger than Golden -- 347,000 when it was released in September of 2011. Before that, Need You Now, bolstered by its title track, launched with 480,000.
Starting strong at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 this week is the soundtrack to the new movie "The Great Gatsby." The set charges in with 137,000 -- the best sales week for a soundtrack in over a year. The last to sell more in a week was "The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond," when it entered at No. 1 with 175,000.
"The Great Gatsby's" sales were overwhelmingly driven by downloads: Its 119,000 digital haul is the largest digital sales week for a soundtrack ever. In turn, the set bows at No. 1 on the Digital Albums chart. The previous digital record for a soundtrack was set in June of 2010 by the "Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals" EP with 106,000 downloads.
"The Great Gatsby," directed by Baz Luhrmann, opened in U.S. theaters on Friday, May 10. Its soundtrack is an all-star affair, as it includes songs by Beyonce, Jay-Z, Jack White, Fergie, Lana Del Rey and Sia, among others.
"The Great Gatsby's" sales debut is much higher than the 95,000 that it was projected to sell a week ago. It would seem the film's strong integration of music, and the movie's box office success over its opening weekend, were clear drivers in the album's sales.
Two earlier soundtracks from Luhrmann-directed films also had great chart success: 1996's "Romeo + Juliet" climbed No. 2, while 2001's "Moulin Rouge!" reached No. 3, after debuting at No. 5 three weeks earlier.
At No. 3 on the Billboard 200 this week is the new Now 46 compilation, starting with 91,000. All of the regular numbered Now albums have reached the top 10, and all but the first debuted in the top 10. Now 45 entered at No. 3 earlier this year with 87,000, while Now 44 bowed at No. 2 last November with 99,000.
Rounding out the top four is Michael Buble's To Be Loved, falling 2-4 with 84,000 (down 12%).
At No. 5 is country trio Pistol Annies, whose second album, Annie Up, debuts with 83,000. The act comprises Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley and superstar Miranda Lambert. The start for Annie Up almost doubles the launch of the group's first album, 2011's Hell on Heels (44,000 at No. 5).
There's one more debut in the top 10 this week: Rod Stewart's Time clocks in at No. 7 with 52,000. It's the legend's highest-charting studio album of original material since -- believe it or not -- 1979, when Blondes Have More Fun spent three weeks at No. 1.
Of course, Stewart has charted many albums since Blondes, but everything that reached the top six between then and now were either a Christmas set of mostly oldies (Merry Christmas, Baby, No. 3 in 2012), one of his many successful covers collections released between 2002 and 2010, or a live album (Unplugged. . . And Seated, No. 2 in 1993).
As for the other chart holdovers in the top 10 this week: Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience slips 3-6 with 66,000 (down 3%). Last week's No. 1, Kenny Chesney's Life on a Rock, falls to No. 8 with 48,000 (down 68%), Blake Shelton's Based on a True Story slides 6-9 with 38,000 (though it's up by 9%), and Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox is pushed back 8-10 with 32,000 (despite a 24% increase).
The latter title's gain can be owed in part to Mother's Day shopping, as it's likely a set sure to appeal to moms. Same goes for Shelton's set at No. 9, and just outside the top 10, P!nk's The Truth About Love. It gains by 14%, but falls 7-11.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, the entire top five are non-movers, led once again by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us" (featuring Ray Dalton), with 241,000 (down 8%). At Nos. 2-5: P!nk's "Just Give Me a Reason" (featuring Nate Ruess) with 230,000 (down 10%), Justin Timberlake's "Mirrors" with 168,000 (down 5%), Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" with 151,000 (up 4%) and Rihanna's "Stay" (featuring Mikky Ekko) with 145,000 (up 4%).
Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It" jumps 9-6 with 143,000 (up 24%), while Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" is steady at No. 7 with 141,000 (up 5%). Icona Pop's "I Love It" (featuring Charli XCX) falls 6-8 with 128,000 (down 5%) and Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man" rises 10-9 with 115,000 (up 6%).
Closing out the top 10 is a new entry from Mariah Carey: "#Beautiful," featuring Miguel. It starts with 114,000 at No. 10 and marks her best sales week for a song since 2009, when "Obsessed" arrived at No. 9 on Digital Songs with 119,000. "#Beautiful" is the lead track from Carey's upcoming album, due out this summer.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 12) totaled 5.53 million units, up 8% compared with the sum last week (5.11 million) and down 1% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.58 million). Year to date album sales stand at 106.29 million, down 5% compared to the same total at this point last year (112.31 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.26 million downloads, up less than 1% compared with last week (24.17 million) and down 3% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (24.96 million). Year to date track sales are at 506.75 million, down 3% compared to the same total at this point last year (520.35 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Adam Lambert scored his first No. 1, as his second album, Trespassing, arrived atop the list with 77,000. Tenacious D's Rize of the Fenix was the second-biggest debut, bowing at No. 4 with 49,000.