Muse could join Mumford & Sons in the top two of the Billboard 200 next week with The 2nd Law set to give the band their highest-charting album yet in the US.
The group's new album, which is on course to debut at No 1 in the UK this weekend, is forecast to sell more than 100,000 copies Stateside during its opening week and should debut at No 2. The group's current Billboard 200 peak is 3, achieved by The Resistance, which sold 128,000 copies in its first week in 2009.
However, Muse will provide no contest for Mumford & Sons who will secure a second week at the top having debuted at No 1 this week with Babel with 600,000 sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That is not only the highest weekly sales this year, beating the 374,000 copies sold of Justin Bieber's Believe, but the best start for a rock title since AC/DC's Black Ice launched with 784,000 copies in November 2008 and the best by a British act since Susan Boyle's debut I Dreamed A Dream entered at 1 on the back of 701,000 sales in December 2010.
Babel's opening-week sales also compare very favourably to other UK albums that have entered in 1 in the US in the past 12 months. Adele's 21 achieved 352,000 sales in its first week in March 2011 and Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto 447,000 sales last November, while One Direction's Up All Night started at the top this March after selling 176,000 copies.
The album is joined in the US Top 20 by its predecessor Sigh No More, which climbs 29-12 in its 132nd week on the survey. Compared to Babel, the Mumford debut had a very modest start, selling 5,000 copies in its first week in February 2010 to debut at 127. However, it eventually peaked at 2 and has since sold around 2.4 million copies in the States. The band also have five simultaneous hits on the Hot 100 with I Will Wait moving 57-45 and new entries courtesy of Babel's title track (60), Lover's Eyes (85), Whispers In The Dark (86), Holland Road (92) and Ghosts That We Knew (94).
Babe's debut at 1 prevents Green Day achieving a third Billboard 200 chart-topper as Uno instead starts at 2 with 139,000 copies sold. Push And Shove, No Doubt's first studio album since 2001's Rock Steady, enters at 3 after selling 115,000 copies, while Pink's The Truth About Love drops to 4 having debuted at 1 last week. Its weekly sales are down 66% to 94,000.
A fourth new entry in the top five comes from Lupe Fiasco whose Food & Liquor II: The Greatest American Rap Album Pt. 1 starts at 5 on the back of 89,000 copies sold, while Deadmau5 instantly hits a new US peak with 58,000 copies sold of album title goes here enough for it to debut at 6. His previous peak was 47, achieved by 4X4=12 in 2010.
The Kanye West-led compilation Cruel Summer drops 2-7 as sales fall 73% to 55,000, while Dave Matthews Band's Away From The World slips 4-8 with sales down 42% to 36,000. Little Big Town's Tornando declines 5-9 with a 33% sales decline to 34,000 and The Killers' Battle Born completes the Top 10 with sales down 73% to 31,000 and falling 3-10.
Ahead of the arrival of their second studio album Take Me Home, One Direction register their second Billboard 200 entry with iTunes Festival: London 2012 new at 140. Meanwhile, the group's first studio set Up All Night drops out of the US Top 20 for the first time, falling 22-20.
Adele's 21 also hits a new chart low, falling 12-14, as The xx's Coexist drops 15-30 in its third week on the countdown. Among the arrivals is Iron Maiden co-founder Steve Harris whose first solo set British Lion is new at 138.
Ed Sheeran's The A Team is in the top half of the Hot 100 for the first time, climbing 52-48, as his album + lifts 64-55 in its 16th week on the Billboard 200.
In a close race for top spot, Maroon 5's One More Night leads the Hot 100 for a third week with PSY's Gangnam Style holding at 2. The Hot 100 is a mixture of sales, airplay and streaming and fewer than 500 chart points separated the two titles.
Fun's Some Nights continues at 3, while Taylor Swift's We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together holds at 4 as her track Begin Again starts at 7. It is one of two brand new entries to the Top 20 with Rihanna's Diamonds starting at 16. Pink's Blow Me (One Last Kiss) remains at 5, while Alex Clare continues to have the leading track by a Brit with Too Close holding at 9. However, Ellie Goulding's Lights loses its Top 10 status, dropping 12-10.
Thanks to the arrivals of a number of big albums, led by Mumford's Babel, US album sales were up 5.4% on the week to 5.71 million units, while were 2.5% higher than the equivalent week in 2011. The year-to-date tally stands at 218.43 million, 4.4% lower than at this stage last year.
The one-track market has now broken through 1 billion sales for the year, standing at 1.009 billion units,a 5.9% year-on-year rise. This follows 23.05 million tracks being sold last week, up 2.0% on the week and 13.2% on the corresponding seven days in 2011.