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Mumford & Sons Are Somehow Bigger Than Justin Bieber, Madonna

Mumford Sons chart Babel debut No. 1

Mumford & Sons’ otherwise underwhelming second LP Babel is on track to have the biggest debut sales week of the year, putting it ahead of 2012 releases by Justin Bieber, Madonna and Pink by roughly twice as many units moved. According to Billboard, it could sell 600,000 copies.

That Babel will sit at the top of next week’s Top 10 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart is a given at this point. (Bieber’s No. 1-nabbing Believe launched at 347,000.) In fact, it’s looking to be the biggest sales week, period, for a rock act since AC/DC dropped Black Ice in 2008.

Not bad for a bunch of banjo-twiddlers. What’s more, with digital sales booming for the band, Mumford are also projected to notch the second largest sales week for a digital album ever, most likely landing a couple hundred thousand behind Lady Gaga’s Born This Way (662K).

How did this happen? Well, the British band’s 2009 debut Sigh No More has managed to rack up 2.5 million sales in the U.S. alone, and they’ve been on the road pretty much since its release. Their brand of high-intensity bluegrass harmoni-pop plays well live and they know it.

While Mumford haven’t released a proper music video for any of their new songs, they’ve promoted footage of them dominating both Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre with “I WIll Wait,” and the often fraught Saturday Night Live performance slot with “Below My Feet.”

They also did an hour-long Live on Letterman set, which aired last night (and can be watched in full via MumfordAndSonsVevo), and, according to the Advertiser, are set to hang and perform with Emmylou Harris on Country Music Television’s CMT Crossroads tonight.