Mumford & Sons have missed out on returning to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart by only around 1,000 sales as the Les Miserables film soundtrack beats it to No 1.
The band's second album Babel, which spent its first three weeks topping the countdown last Octobver, sold 91,000 copies last week with weekly sales rising 34%, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But just edging it with sales of around 92,000 is Les Miserables, which cimbs 2-1 despite its own sales dropping 32% on the week.
Babel's recovery has no doubt been helped by iTunes in the US offering the album for $6.99, reflecting by 83% of its sales last week being downloads. It is also likely to receive a boost in the coming weeks in the run-up to the Grammy Awards where the band have six nominations, including for Babel for Album of the Year. Phillip Phillps' The World From The Side Of The Moon, Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire and The Truth About Love by Pink were also part of the same promotion and as a result return to the Top 10. Phillips' album improves 11-4 with sales up 8% to 63,000; Girl On Fire moves 18-9 as sales rise 6% to 44,000; and Pink's album progresses 14-10, although accompaneid by a 22% sales dip to 41,000 copies.
Taylor Swift's Red sat just ahead of Babel in 2012's overall chart in runners-up place, but it is now behind the British album in the weekly drop as it falls 1-3 with weekly sales dropping 72% to 69,000. The big week-on-week decline is partly explained by the album the previous week having bee sold for $1.99 on a one-day promotion by Amazon.
One Direction remain in the top five, although drop 3-5 with Take Me Home as sales slip 61,000, while Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox is down 4-6 with a 50% sales decline to 55,000 and the Pitch Perfect soundtrack rises 10-7, even as weekly sales drop 10% to 52,000. Also going up and hitting a new peak is The Lumineers' self-titled album, lifting 9-8 with sales dow 17% to 51,000.
US album and singles sales get off to a positive start to the year, both last week outscoring the corresponding week in 2012. Although the albums market was down 35.9% on the week before, they were up 7.9% on a year earlier to 6.25 million units. Meanwhile, one-track sales dropped from the all-time high week when 55.74 million units were sold at the end of 2012 by 38.1% to 34.53 million downloads. However, that was 5.4% higher than in the equivalent week last year.