Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' 'Heist' Album Debuts At No. 2 On Billboard 200
As forecasted a week ago, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debut at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with The Heist. The hip-hop set sold 78,000 in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking the best sales week yet for either artist.
The album is Macklemore's second full-length effort, and teams him with producer Lewis. The Heist was released independently through Alternative Distribution Alliance and comes after years of steady growth for the act. Lewis' official YouTube channel has 47,000 subscribers (a growth of 5,000 from a week ago) and 25.5 million views (up 3 million). Meanwhile the duo's SoundCloud has amassed 1 million plays from seven tracks. With such support via online services, it's no surprise to see that 83% of the album's first week consisted of download sales.
Macklemore and Lewis recently wrapped a sold-out European tour and launched a 50-show U.S. and Canada trek last week.
Above The Heist this week is Mumford & Sons' Babel, which retains the top slot for a third straight frame (96,000; down 43%).
As both titles are independently distributed (Babel goes through RED), this marks only the second time the top two-selling albums have been indie releases since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. It last happened on the Jan. 29, 2011, chart, when Cake's Showroom of Compassion and Cage the Elephant's Thank You Happy Birthday debuted at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Going further, Babel is the second-longest-running No. 1 indie album in SoundScan history. Only Walt Disney Records' then-indie The Lion King soundtrack has racked more weeks at No. 1. The title roared atop the list for 10 nonconsecutive weeks between 1994 and 1995.
Mumford will likely step aside next week on the chart, as Jason Aldean's Night Train is steaming toward No. 1. Expect a big debut for the country star, who will capture his first leader on the Billboard 200 with the set.
As for the rest of this week's top 10, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis lead a total of seven debuts in the region. Legendary rock band Kiss crashes in at No. 3 with its new studio album, Monster, shifting 56,000 in its first week. It's the group's 25th top 40 album and ties with 1998's Psycho-Circus as its second-highest-charting album. Only its last studio album, 2009's Sonic Boom, went higher, debuting and peaking at No. 2.