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Mumford and Sons tops Bieber for year’s biggest album debut

Crushing stiff competition from a slew of superstar acts, Mumford and Sons’ “Babel” scores the year’s biggest debut, landing atop Billboard’s album chart after selling 600,000 copies.

Babel’s start, the heftiest since Drake’s “Take Care” opened with 631,000 last November, vastly outdistanced four other chart arrivals. Green Day’s “Uno!,” the first in a trilogy, sold 139,000 copies to land at No. 2, according to Nielsen SoundScan. No Doubt’s “Push and Shove,” the quartet’s first studio album in 11 years, is third with 115,000. Lupe Fiasco’s “Food and Liquor II” sold 89,000 to place fifth, behind last week’s chart-topping “The Truth About Love” by Pink. And Deadmau5’s “album title goes here” lands at No. 6 with 58,000.

The U.K. indie folk group’s sophomore release didn’t tally the year’s largest weekly take. That honor stays with Adele’s “21,” which sold 730,000 copies the week after she won an armload of Grammys. With scant promotional hoopla, the band’s opener surpasses former 2012 leader Justin Bieber, whose “Believe” sold 374,000 copies in June.

“It blows Bieber out of the water,” says Keith Caulfield, Billboard’s director of charts. “Mumford isn’t a traditional singles act. They appeal to consumers who still want the experience of an album. They have a wide appeal, from young folks who see them on tour to older NPR listeners.

“A lot of people wish they could have the type of success Mumford is having.”

“Babel” was streamed 8 million times by Spotify’s U.S. users in the past week, the biggest week for any album this year. One in 10 Spotify listeners heard at least one Babel track.

“This was a hotly anticipated album that shattered this year’s record by a factor of three,” says Ken Parks, Spotify’s chief content officer. “It shows what you can do when you get amazing music and let people listen to it.”

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