The Billboard 200:
This week on the Billboard 200, Justin Bieber crashed in at No. 1 with his "Believe" album, selling 374,000 in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan. It marked the largest debut of the year for an album and Bieber's best sales week yet. "Believe" was one of four debuts in the top 10 -- and all of them were in the top four. Also starting in the region: Kenny Chesney's "Welcome to the Fishbowl" at No. 2, Fiona Apple's "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than . . ." at No. 3 and the Smashing Pumpkins' "Oceania" at No. 4.
Outside the top 10, there were of course movers and shakers as well. Let's take a look:
-- "Brave" Soundtrack: The hit Pixar film's companion album launches at No. 33 with 12,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the highest-charting soundtrack from a Pixar film since 2006's "Cars" peaked at No. 6 on July 1 of that year. In between "Cars" and "Brave," there were five Pixar films -- but only three had traditionally-released soundtracks. Of the ones that saw a wide release, 2007's "Ratatouille" missed the chart entirely, 2008's "Wall-E" hit No. 127 and 2011's "Cars 2" drove to No. 153. The other two Pixar features that didn't have a traditional soundtrack release in that span of time were 2009's "Up" and 2010's "Toy Story 3." Those two were originally released only via digital download, and eventually were issued on CD months after their respective films bowed in theaters.
The "Brave" soundtrack consists mostly of score composed by two-time Academy Award nominee Patrick Doyle. It also includes five songs -- including one by the cast's Emma Thompson and Peigi Barker, titled "Noble Maiden Fair." The tune debuts at No. 4 on World Digital Songs, selling 1,000 downloads. It was not the biggest-selling song from the album, however. That distinction belongs to "Learn Me Right," by English singer Birdy and Mumford & Sons, which sold 6,000 downloads.
"Learn Me Right" is an original tune written by Mumford & Sons, who also arranged and produced the track. In a statement, Marcus Mumford said "It's quite fun doing a song for a movie rather than for an album. We liked the idea of having an orchestra in the background and having a girl like Birdy sing -- it's been quite liberating."
-- "Project X" Soundtrack: After the film bowed on home video on June 19, its soundtrack charges back onto the tally, reentering at No. 34 with 12,000 and a gain of 403%. It is the seventh-biggest selling soundtrack of the year (111,000).
-- Blood on the Dance Floor: The electronic act earns its best sales week yet as its new "Evolution" set debuts at No. 42 with 10,000. The duo had never sold more than 2,000 in a frame previously. The new album's first week was driven by digital and non-traditional sales, which amounted to 25% and 39% of its first-week, respectively. Non-traditional sales include made via the Internet (CDs sold on Amazon.com, for example), mail order and venue sales. The non-traditional sector also includes retailers like Hot Topic, which sell quite a few Blood on the Dance Floor albums. The act did an in-store at the Hot Topic location in Hollywood, Calif. at the Hollywood and Highland complex on street date, June 19.
-- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The band's 1994 "Greatest Hits" compilation (No. 72 this week) is only 10,000 copies away from hitting the 8 million sales mark. It's currently the fifth-biggest selling greatest hits album in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991-present). The Beatles "1" is the biggest, with 12 million sold.
-- Rihanna: As usual, a bevy of sale prices at Google Play and Amazon MP3 make waves on the chart this week. Rihanna's "Loud" is a notable jumper, as it reenters at No. 111 with 4,000 (up 149%). Nearly every sizable leap or reentry on the tally is owed to discounting, including Billy Idol's return at No. 99 with "Greatest Hits" (5,000; up 774%) and Eminem's "Recovery" (188-81 with 6,000; up 71%).
-- Blake Shelton: Having sold 720,000, his 2011 "Red River Blue" album (No. 114) is less than 100,000 copies away from being his best-selling set to date. Ahead of it are "Blake Shelton's Barn & Grill" (2004; 804,000) and his 2001 self-titled effort (818,000).
-- George Michael: Every week, there seems to be a new classic album that gets a chart revival courtesy of digital discounting. Last week, Prince and the Revolution's "Purple Rain" returned, and this week Michael's Grammy-winning No. 1 set "Faith" comes back (No. 190, up 5,298%). It reenters the tally just shy of its 25th anniversary on the list. It debuted on Nov. 21, 1987 and ultimately spent 12 weeks at No. 1. It also spun-off off six top five singles on the Billboard Hot 100, four of which went to No. 1.