This week on the Billboard 200 albums chart, it was all about Beyonce, as the diva debuted at No. 1 with her new self-titled album, selling 617,000 copies after only three days on sale (according to Nielsen SoundScan). It was one of three new arrivals in the top 10 this week, as R. Kelly and Childish Gambino also bowed in the region.
As usual, there were a number of movers and shakers outside the top 10 on the Billboard 200 this week. Let's take a look at some of them:
-- Michael Buble, "Christmas" - No. 13 - Michael Buble's smash "Christmas" album continues to be a strong seller, two years after it was released in 2011. While the set falls from No. 8 to No. 13 this week (48,000; down 16%), expect the album to post a gain next week. Buble's latest NBC TV "Christmas Special" aired on Dec. 18, which should perk up interest in the album. The show featured guest turns from Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige.
Buble's "Christmas" is one of 63 holiday albums on the Billboard 200 this week -- a full 32% of the chart. We'll have one more week flush with Christmas music on the chart, and then things will start to taper off as we move past the actual Christmas holiday itself.
-- Zac Brown Band, "The Grohl Sessions: Vol. 1" (EP) - No. 25 - The new set, exclusive to iTunes, was produced by Dave Grohl and released independently (unlike their previous titles, which were sold through Atlantic Records). In turn, the EP also debuts at No. 3 on the Top Independent Albums chart, selling 27,000.
-- Soundtrack, "Nashville: The Music of Nashville: Season 2, Volume 1" - No. 34 - It's the third "Nashville" TV soundtrack to chart, as it starts with 18,000 sold. It follows two volumes from the first season, released in 2012 and 2013. The first, "Season 1: Volume 1," debuted and peaked at No. 14 (from a 59,000 start), while the "Season 1: Volume 2" set bowed and peaked at No. 13 (27,000 in its first week).
The first two releases currently stand as the Nos. 5 and 9 best-selling soundtracks of 2013, according to Nielsen SoundScan. They've shifted 192,000 and 113,000 this year, respectively. (The first album has sold a total of 312,000 -- 192,000 of which were sold in 2013.)
-- Soundtrack, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" - No. 39 - In the continuing saga of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" films, this is the fifth soundtrack (of five) in the Peter Jackson-directed series to reach the top 50. The last album, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," reached No. 30 last year. It followed "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (No. 29; 2002), "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (No. 43; 2003) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (No. 36; 2004).
-- Parmalee, "Feels Like Carolina" - No. 46 - The country act makes its album chart debut with "Feels Like Carolina," which also takes a bow at No. 10 on the Top Country Albums chart. The group recently celebrated its first No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart with the album's single "Carolina." It jumped to the top of the list a week ago. This week, it slips to No. 2.
-- E-40, "The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil" - Nos. 136, 140 & 151 - Believe it or not, but rapper E-40 has collected a total of 27 entries on the Billboard 200 chart in his career. Of those, 16 have come since 2010, thanks to simultaneous releases of multi-volume albums. This week, the fourth, fifth and sixth volumes of his "The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil" album series debut at Nos. 136, 140 and 151, respectively. The follow volumes one, two and three, which hit Nos. 59, 58 and 71 in 2012.