Coldplay’s ‘Ghost Stories’ enters Billboard Top 200 at No. 1

Coldplay in concert
Chris Martin, left, and bassist Guy Berryman from Coldplay performing recently at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories” is the fastest-selling album of 2014 so far.
(Drew Gurian / Invision/Associated Press)

Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories” shot to the top of the Billboard 200 Albums chart in its first week of release, selling more than 382,000 copies out of the gate in a demonstration of the ongoing commercial potency of the British rock group.

It’s the fourth No. 1 album for singer-songwriter Chris Martin and his band mates, and the highest debuting album of 2014 to date, topping the previous high of 288,000 logged by Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” in February.

Coldplay’s history of No. 1 arrivals also shows the steady decline of the music sales in the last decade. Even though it’s the fastest-selling album of this year, it’s a marked drop from the 447,000 copies posted by the band’s 2011 album “Mylo Xyloto,” which also was a big decline from first-week sales of 721,000 for  “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends” in 2008 and the 737,000 for “X&Y” in 2005.

Country singer Brantley Gilbert captured the No. 2 spot, safely behind Coldplay, with his new CD “Just As I Am,” which sold 211,000 copies, according to the Nielsen SoundScan retail sales monitoring service. It also entered the Billboard Country Albums chart at No. 1, Gilbert’s first time atop that ranking.

That leaves the posthumous Michael Jackson release “Xscape” at No. 3 in its third week, with added sales of almost 67,000 copies.

The digital version of “Ghost Stories” accounted for 64% of the album’s sales, according to Billboard, with 245,000 paid downloads. The group appeared to benefit from a couple of national television appearances during release week, including its own NBC TV special on May 18. followed by a performance on that network’s “The Voice” on May 20. Those came on the heels of performances on “Saturday Night Live” on May 3 and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on May 6.