Mumford & Sons scores biggest debut

Folk band Mumford & Sons scored the biggest debut of 2012 on the Billboard 200 chart.

English folk rock band Mumford & Sons. Picture: AFP/Robyn Beck

LOS ANGELES - British folk band Mumford & Sons scored the biggest debut of the year so far as their sophomore album _Babel _shot to the top of the Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday, in a year where the US music industry has been dominated by British imports.

Babel sold 600,000 copies in its first week of release according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan, almost doubling the sales of Justin Bieber's Believe, which, until now, was the year's biggest debut with 374,000 units sold in its first week in June.

Lead single I Will Wait from Babel peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart.

The album also had a huge helping hand from online music streaming service Spotify, where it was streamed 8 million times over the past week, making it the biggest week for any album in the US this year, according to figures from Spotify.

The streaming service also noted that one in ten of US Spotify users listened to a track from Babel.

Mumford & Sons, formed in London, England, by lead singer Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Country Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane, shot to fame with their 2009 debut album Sigh No More, led by singles such as _Little Lion Man _and The Cave.

The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

The band are part of a new wave of singers taking the US music chart by storm.

Soul singer Adele swept the Grammy awards earlier this year with accolades in six categories and her heartbreak album _21 _has sold more than 9.8 million copies in the US since its release in February 2011.

Babel was one of five new entries in the top ten of the Billboard 200 chart on Wednesday.

Green Day's ninth studio album ¬°Uno! landed at No. 2 with sales of 138,000, No Doubt entered the chart at No. 3 with their first album in a decade, Push and Shove, with sales of 114,000.