As forecasted a week ago, Mumford & Sons' Babel returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the wake of their Grammy Award win for album of the year on Feb. 10. The set -- which rises 4-1 on the tally -- sold 185,000 copies in the week ending Feb. 17, according to Nielsen SoundScan, therefore posting a weekly gain of 242%.
The figure is a bit larger than label sources initially projected. A week ago, Babel was looking to maybe sell 150,000 to 170,000 in the week after the Grammy Awards. Sale pricing by the iTunes Store for Valentine's Day helped propel the album’s sales. iTunes marked Babel down to $6.99 for a limited time, and the title was also featured in an email blast sent to iTunes customers.
In turn, the album scores a 260% gain in download sales, moving from 28,000 to 101,000 for the week. (It’s the largest digital week for a non-debuting album since the week after Christmas, when Taylor Swift's Red sold 131,000 downloads.)
Physical sales for Babel last week were still robust, however, amounting to 55% of the album’s sales for the frame.
Babel is also benefitting from two new deluxe editions that were released Feb. 5. The first, available exclusively at Target, includes three bonus live tracks. A second version, dubbed the "Gentlemen of the Road" edition, was widely released and boasts 12 extra live cuts.
Mumford & Sons performed twice during the Grammy Awards. The quartet sang the album's lead single, "I Will Wait," and later in the broadcast it performed as part of an all-star memorial tribute to Levon Helm.
This is the fourth nonconsecutive week Babel has ruled the Billboard 200. It spent its first three weeks at No. 1 last October.
Within the chart’s top 10, in addition to Mumford at No. 1, the titles at Nos. 2-4, 6, 7 and 10 benefit from the Grammy Awards.
The 2013 Grammy Nominees compilation jumps 11-2 with 88,000 (up 136%). It's the highest-charting week ever for the Grammy Nominees series, which launched in 1995. It also earns its best sales week since Grammy Nominees 2007 moved 131,000 the week after the 2007 show. The franchise has logged 12 top 10 sets.
Bruno Mars benefits from his performance on the Grammy Awards as well, as his Unorthodox Jukebox rises 8-3 with 86,000 (up 112%). Mars sang the album's No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Locked Out of Heaven" before segueing into a Bob Marley tribute featuring Sting, Rihanna and Ziggy and Damian Marley. (In turn, Bob Marley & the Wailers' greatest-hits album Legend flies 99-34 with 20,000, up 270%.)
Taylor Swift, who opened the Grammys with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," rises 12-4 with Red (72,000; up 106%). Swift's set also gains thanks to hefty promotion by Target. The retailer ran a TV commercial during the Grammys, touting its exclusive version of Red. Additionally, the album was featured in Target's weekly circular ad. A whopping 86% of sales for Red last week were physical albums.
Target also showed love for P!nk, resulting in her The Truth About Love almost returning to the top 10: It climbs 23-11 with 47,000 (up 121%). Like Red, the Target version of P!nk's album was advertised during the Grammys. P!nk was also seen in a second commercial during the show, as she starred in a new spot by CoverGirl. Like Swift's Red, the bulk of sales for Truth last week were from physical copies of the album (85% physical vs. 15% digital).
Three more Grammy Awards performers are found in the Billboard 200's top 10. The Lumineers' self-titled album has its best sales week yet, rising 10-6 with 67,000 (up 70%). Fun.'s Some Nights climbs 14-7 (66,000; up 118%). Maroon 5's Overexposed rises 20-10 (48,000; up 119%). Like Swift and Mars, Overexposed was marked down to $6.99 at iTunes last week.
Last week's No. 1 album, Josh Groban's All That Echoes, slips to No. 5 with 72,000 (down 50%). The Now 45 compilation slides 3-8 (63,000; down 27%), and Andrea Bocelli's Passione falls 5-9 (48,000; down just 6%). The latter's slight decline is likely owed to gift purchases made for Valentine's Day.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz) reigns for a sixth week. It logs its best sales week yet, moving 412,000 downloads (up 6%). In a somewhat distant second place is Rihanna's "Stay" (featuring Mikky Ekko), which drives 25-2 with 306,000 (up 358%). The song was performed on the Grammy Awards, while its music video also debuted during the tracking week.
Baauer's red-hot "Harlem Shake" debuts at No. 3 on Digital Songs with 262,000 (up 1,359% from 18,000). The song -- as featured in countless YouTube viral videos -- was released commercially last June. It didn't start to sell significant units until a week ago, when it moved 18,000 after the "Harlem Shake" meme began to take hold.
Mars' "When I Was Your Man" is steady at No. 4 with 217,000 (up 36%), Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" (featuring Jay-Z) rises 8-5 (201,000; up 67%), and the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" is stationary at No. 6 (192,000; up 30%). The latter two songs were both performed on the Grammy Awards.
Drake's new single "Started From the Bottom" flies 32-8 with 168,000 (up 185%) after its first full week of sales. The song debuted last week (ending Feb. 10) after four days of impact, as it was released Feb. 7.
Timberlake's new song "Mirrors" enters the top 10 at No. 9 with 163,000, after it hit iTunes early on Monday morning, Feb. 11. The song -- from his forthcoming 20/20 Experience album -- was either available as a stand-alone track purchase or as an instant-gratification download when a customer pre-ordered the album. (The customer was immediately charged for the track in either instance.)
Closing out the top 10 is will.i.am & Britney Spears' "Scream & Shout," which falls 2-10 with 158,000 (down 3%).
Owed mostly to buzz generated by the Grammy Awards, the top 16 titles on the Digital Songs chart all sell in excess of 100,000. The last time that happened -- not counting the Christmas holiday weeks -- was last April, when Easter helped push each title in the top 16 to 100,000-plus sales.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Feb. 17) totaled 6.8 million units, up 17% compared with the sum last week (5.8 million) and down 12% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (7.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 39.1 million, down 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (41.7 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 29.4 million downloads, up 8% compared with last week (32.3 million) and down 9% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (32.2 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 200.4 million, down 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (202.8 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Adele's 21 was No. 1 -- yet again -- for a 22nd week (297,000; down 59%). The highest debut was fun.'s Some Nights, starting at No. 3 with 70,000.