With 600,000 copies sold in its first frame according to Nielsen SoundScan, Mumford & Sons’ Babel not only scored the biggest debut sales week of any album this year in the U.S. and the biggest sales week for a rock album in nearly four years, but it also notched New York-based indie label Glassnote Records its first Billboard 200 chart-topper. Label founder Daniel Glass tells Billboard that he and his team are “totally enjoying the moment,” and take pride in the fact that Babel‘s debut has made 2012 the sixth straight year that an indie album has hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
“[There’s been] a lot of excitement, and a lot of validation to be an independent,” says Glass. “I don’t get hung up on the numbers — it’s the first week, and you can go nuts with that stuff. I’m just so happy that people embraced the music and were as excited as we were… and the streaming figures are huge, but the sales are great.”
As Billboard reported on Wednesday, Babel smashed Spotify’s records for streams from an album in a single week. According to Spotify’s chief content officer Ken Parks, stateside users streamed approximately eight million listens from Babel in its first week, so that one out of every 10 U.S. Spotify users listened to a new Mumford & Sons song in its first seven days of release.
“When you have quality and you’re in the sophomore stage of this band’s career, I think the fear of holding it back is worse than letting it go,” says Glass of the streaming figures. “Opening up the faucet and letting people hear it, stream it and all that stuff is definitely very healthy, and I think people inherently want to purchase an artifact, a memento, so they have a piece of it now that they streamed it.”
Glass, who was in Los Angeles grabbing dinner with the members of new Glassnote signee Little Green Cars when the 600,000 sales figure was made official on Tuesday night, says that he has already received congratulations on Mumford & Sons’ No. 1 debut from executives like Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Martin Bandier and Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine. Before Babel, Glassnote got closest to the pole position with Mumford & Sons’ debut, Sigh No More, which peaked at No. 2 in 2011.
One party that has not been gushing about the sales figure, however, is the members of Mumford & Sons themselves, who kick off a tour of Australia on Oct. 12 and will return to the U.S. for another proper trek in 2013.
“It’s never about the numbers — they never asked, I never told,” says Glass of the band. “I don’t think the band has ever asked me about a number since I’ve met them. It’s not their language. They just can’t wait to get back here on the road.”