When Taylor Swift was predicted to sell more than one million copies of her 2010 album Speak Now, her label head told MTV News he had a big dance party lined up for the singer, who likes to keep things low-key.
But when Mumford & Sons likely score the biggest sales week of 2012 , and possibly the strongest rock bow since AC/DC in 2008, the founder and CEO of their independent label has an appropriately folksy, even more low-key celebration planned.
“No new cars,” laughed Daniel Glass when asked by MTV News if the hard-strumming quartet could expect celebratory gifts for reaching the expert-predicted 600,000-plus figures for Wednesday’s debut of their second album, Babel.
“We have something we think is very special … we hug,” he said of the humble gesture that’s in keeping with the humble nature of the English quartet’s public persona. “We’re big huggers. We will give them a big hug and compliments on their job.”
Glass is excited about what will easily be the biggest first week for any band on his label (home to Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club and Oberhofer), but he said that the seeds for the success of Babel were planted long ago. “I can go back to the beginning and I knew we were signing a very talented band to our roster,” he said of Mumford, whose 2010 debut, Sigh No More, debuted at a lowly #116 on sales of just over 4,000, but has since gone on to sell nearly 2.5 million copies in the U.S., hit #1 on the iTunes chart and remained in the top 30 as of last week.
“They delivered incredible music for a second time … and the work that was done, it’s very empowering and shows a lot of confidence when a band goes out for almost two months playing new music from the new album for their fans and shares it with them and makes the fan experience so wonderful and inclusive,” he said of the hard-touring group’s shows this year.
In a recent New York Times profile, the band discussed the importance of touring and their feeling that they’d rather play their songs in concert for fans than record new music. Glass said that dedication to connecting with their audience has been key in the hug-splosion that is likely to take place on Wednesday morning when the SoundScan figures come out and Mumford come out way ahead of such veteran acts as Pink and Green Day.
“The attitude of Mumford & Sons is that fans really do come first and word of mouth is important,” Glass said. “They’ve let you in on new music for a long time and it’s not a marketing ploy. It has been that unfurling and exposure going on for a year and a half with the new music.”
That desire to share new music as it’s written with the band’s dedicated, concert-going audience is one of the reasons Glass said Mumford’s music has continued to sell well after its initial release.
“We’ve never heavily discounted their albums because that’s part of it,” he said of the positive word-of-mouth that has spread following a typically raucous Mumford show. “The album is great, the deluxe package [of Sigh No More] is great. The band hasn’t changed and that’s what’s great about them. They love to play, they live to play and that’s what great rock bands do. They’re not on a star trip. They enjoy themselves and people share in that joy.”
Before final numbers were available for the reporting week that ended on Sunday, Glass said he wasn’t interested in projections. He humbly said he’s prepared for a “great” reception, but he honestly doesn’t even recall ever talking about a number, per se. “I’m not being arrogant,” he said. “We know we made a brilliant record and we’re prepared for it. We did all the right things to get ready.”
And at press time, it showed. Glass said “I Will Wait” was #1 on the AAA radio charts and #1 on the alternative rock charts and “Babel” and “Lovers’ Eyes” were among the six songs that stations were spinning. The band had hit “Saturday Night Live” recently, notched a successful CMT Crossroads special, wrapped their mini-festival Gentlemen of the Road Stopover tour and just announced a Hollywood Bowl gig.
“Everybody did their job,” he said. “Are we surprised? Is it more than we expected? We’re elated. I’m so happy for us and the band, but to us it’s about next year, the marathon of this new album.”