Mumford & Sons' 'Babel' Set for Fifth Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200

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Alabama Shakes headed back to the top 10 after Grammy, 'SNL' attention.

After this week's Grammy Awards-charged Billboard 200 albums chart -- where many albums saw large gains in the wake of the show -- next week's list will be very sleepy.

Next week's likely No. 1 album -- Mumford & Sons' Grammy-winning "Babel" -- may only sell only around 60,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, Feb. 24 (so suggest industry sources). It will be the album of the year's fifth non-consecutive week at No. 1.

The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 27.

If "Babel" retains the top slot for a fifth week, it will be the longest run at No. 1 for a duo or group since OutKast spent seven weeks at No. 1 in 2003-2004 with "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below."

In less exciting news, "Babel's" forecasted 60,000 in sales could mark the lowest tally for the week's top-selling album since last August. (On the Aug. 11, 2012 chart, Zac Brown Band's "Uncaged" was No. 1 with a meager 48,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan.)

There have only been two sub-100,000 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this year: When the "Les Miserables" soundtrack rose to No. 1 (Jan. 19; 92,000) and when Chris Tomlin's "Burning Lights" bowed atop the list (Jan. 26; 73,000).

This past week, "Babel" jumped back to No. 1 in the wake of its Grammy win for album of the year. The album sold 185,000 copies in the week ending Feb. 17, marking a 242% increase in sales compared to the previous week.

As for the rest of next week's top 10, nearly everything will fall in sales after the Grammy surge. The chart will be in a state of adjustment after the Awards, as the tally returns to its normal sales patterns. In turn, watch for essentially everything in the top 10 to earn large sales drops.

The only bright spot among the top 10 next week could be Alabama Shakes' "Boys & Girls" album, which is poised for a return to the top 10 -- with a gain! This past week, the set moved 30,000 copies (up 130%) for its second-largest sales week yet. The act is profiting from exposure earned from its best new artist nomination on the Grammy Awards, plus a performance slot on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (Feb. 16).

On SoundScan's Building chart (below), Mumford & Sons is No. 1, while Bruno Mars' "Unorthodox Jukebox" is No. 2. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking -- reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants.

As for the rest of the Building chart's top 10: Josh Groban's "All That Echoes" is No. 3, followed by the "Now 45" album at No. 4 and the "2013 Grammy Nominees" compilation at No. 5. Alabama Shakes' "Boys & Girls" is No. 6, the Lumineers' self-titled album is No. 7 and Rihanna's "Unapologetic" is No. 8. The "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack is No. 9, while Tim McGraw's "Two Lanes of Freedom" closes out the top 10 at No. 10.


Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart
Rank LW
BB 200
Artist Title
1 1 Mumford & Sons "Babel"
2 3 Bruno Mars "Unorthodox Jukebox"
3 5 Josh Groban "All That Echoes"
4 8 Various Artists "Now 45"
5 2 Various Artists "2013 Grammy Nominees"
6 20 Alabama Shakes "Boys & Girls"
7 6 The Lumineers "The Lumineers"
8 15 Rihanna "Unapologetic"
9 16 Soundtrack "Pitch Perfect"
10 12 Tim McGraw "Two Lanes of Freedom"
The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.

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