Bruno Mars claims his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as "Unorthodox Jukebox" jumps one slot to the top of the tally. The set, largely fueled by sale pricing by Amazon MP3, sold 95,000 copies in the week ending March 3 -- for a gain of 96% compared to the previous week (according to Nielsen SoundScan). On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the digital retailer offered a bevy of albums for just $1.99, including Mars' latest and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "The Heist." Discounted sales of "Unorthodox Jukebox" and "The Heist" -- and all of last week's other Amazon MP3 $1.99-priced titles -- count toward their weekly total because the albums have been out for more than four weeks. Billboard doesn't count sales of albums priced below $3.49 in their first four weeks of release. After their one-day $1.99 offering, the price of both "Unorthodox Jukebox" and "The Heist" went up to $3.99 for the rest of the week. (Both are still being sold for $3.99 as of March 5.)
"Unorthodox Jukebox" might not have been No. 1 this week, had it not been for Amazon MP3. Of its total sales week, 64,000 were downloads. That's about 46,000 more than what the album has been selling in weekly downloads, on average, over the past two months (18,000).
So, subtract "Unorthodox's" estimated Amazon MP3 gain of 46,000 for the week and we're left with 48,000. That would be slightly less than what the No. 2 album sells this week: the debuting "Amok" from super group Atoms for Peace (50,000).
Atoms for Peace consists of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, drummer Joey Waronker and percussionist Mauro Refosco. While Atoms for Peace is blocked from a No. 1 debut this week by Mars, the electronic/rock act can take solace in a No. 1 bow on Rock Albums, Independent Albums and Dance/Electronic Albums.
Last week's No. 1, Mumford & Sons' "Babel," falls to No. 3 with 43,000 (down 31%).
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "The Heist" climbs 16-4 with 42,000 (up 89%), after the set's sale pricing at Amazon MP3 and the duo's performance on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (March 2). It's the album's largest sales week, and highest chart rank, since its debut at No. 2 with 78,000 (Oct. 27, 2012).
The three albums at Nos. 2-4 on the Billboard 200 this week are all distributed by independent distribution companies. In turn, it's the first time since Nielsen SoundScan started powering the chart in 1991 that three of the top four albums are independently-distributed.
Atoms for Peace's "Amok" and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "The Heist" are distributed by Alternative Distribution Alliance, while Mumford & Sons' "Babel" goes through RED Distribution.
At No. 5 this week is the debuting Hillsong United, the youth ministry of the Australian Hillsong Church. The group's "Zion" enters with 34,000 sold, marking the first top 10 for the Hillsong church and its best sales week. Its previous high came when 2011's "Aftermath" (by Hillsong United), debuted and peaked at No. 17 off a 27,000 start.
"Zion" also naturally bows at No. 1 on the Christian Albums chart, the seventh No. 1 for the Hillsong organization.
The "Now 45" compilation slips 4-6 on the Billboard 200 with 33,000 (down 13%), the Lumineers' self-titled album falls 5-7 with 30,000 (down 13%), Josh Groban's "All That Echoes" slides 3-8 with 29,000 (down 29%) and Rihanna's "Unapologetic" is steady at No. 9 with just under 29,000 (up less than 1%).
Jumping four slots to No. 10 is Adele's "21," selling 27,000 with a gain of 17%. While the album doesn't feature her Academy Award-winning song "Skyfall," the set clearly benefits from Adele's performance of the tune on the Oscars (Feb. 24). This is the two-year old album's first time back in the top 10 since the Nov. 3, 2012 chart, when it ranked at No. 9.
As for the song "Skyfall," after a full week of impact post-Oscars, the song charges 32-10 on the Digital Songs chart, selling 105,000 downloads in the week ending March 3 (up 88%). The title song of the James Bond film logs its best sales week since the tally dated Dec. 1, 2012 (120,000) -- reflecting the first full week "Skyfall" was in U.S. theaters.
Adele's performance on the Academy Awards was her first on TV -- or anywhere -- in over a year. She last sang on stage during the BRIT Awards on Feb. 21, 2012.
At No. 1 on the Digital Songs chart is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop" (featuring Wanz), ruling for an eighth consecutive week (326,000; down 10%).
Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man" skips 3-2 with 231,000 (up 1%) while Baauer's "Harlem Shake" cools down, moving 2-3 with 228,000 (down 23%).
Demi Lovato scores her best sales week yet for a song download, as her new "Heart Attack" debuts at No. 4 with 215,000. Her previous best frame was earned when "Skyscraper" bowed with 176,000 downloads at No. 2 (July 30, 2011).
Demi Lovato's 'Heart Attack' Lyric Video Garners Huge Web Response
Rihanna's "Stay" (featuring Mikky Ekko) falls 4-5 with 211,000 (down 1%) and Drake's "Started From the Bottom" moves 5-6 with 142,000 (down 6%). Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" (featuring Jay-Z) holds at No. 7 (141,000; up 5%) and will.i.am & Britney Spears' "Scream & Shout" falls 6-8 (122,000; down 12%). Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" is stationary at No. 9 with 121,000 (down 9%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending March 3) totaled 5.79 million units, up 6% compared with the sum last week (5.46 million) and down 9% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (6.33 million). Year to date album sales stand at 50.36 million, down 7% compared to the same total at this point last year (54.34 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 26.12 million downloads, down 3% compared with last week (26.89 million) and down 4% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (27.12 million). Year to date track sales are at 253.38 million, down 2% compared to the same total at this point last year (258.04 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" debuted at No. 1 with 196,000 sold, just barely beating the No. 2 set, Adele's "21" (195,000).