2012 will be remembered for plenty–as an election year, an Olympic year, that year when the world didn’t actually erupt in flames (we hope). Now, it might also be remembered as the year when folk rock won. Beating out candy-coated billboard darlings Madonna, Pink, and even Justin Bieber, UK-based quartet Mumford and Sons enjoyed a stronger debut week than anyone else this year with the release of their sophomore album Babel. The record sold a whopping 600,000 copies–nearly twice as many as Justin Bieber’s Believe, which comes in at silver with 374,000 sales.
The last time a rock band moved this many records was back in 2008, when AC/DC sold 784,000 copies of Black Ice. Nipping at the heels of established rock legends with only your second album is no small feat, and speaks not only to Mumford and Sons’ remarkable popularity, but also to their fans’ willingness to shell out for the music. A majority of Babel‘s sales–420,000 of them–were distributed via digital platforms, indicating that the future of mp3 sales is alive and well even among the young folks. Also notable: could this be the biggest debut yet from a band with a banjo player? [Spin]