A cappella is sweeping the nation (thanks Pitch Perfect and Glee), and it’s resulted in an album by the very popular group Pentatonix reaching the top of the Billboard chart. It’s the first time that an a cappella album has landed in the top spot, making music history. The self-titled album from the fivesome is comprised of pretty much all original songs (why!?) and it very narrowly edged out Demi Lovato’s Confident to take No. 1.
And … get this: It was pushed over the edge (and then some) by sales at Cracker Barrel Restaurant And Old Country Store, the roadside chain you don’t want to admit you’ve ever been to but you probably have. As you probably know, half the attraction of these restaurants is the gift store out front that sells retro candy and vaguely Americana wares. Those shops sell (mostly country) CDs, too, and RCA struck up a promotional deal with Cracker Barrel to distribute Pentatonix. According to a report from Hits Daily Double, it resulted in the sale of almost 2,600 physical copies sold out of 98,400 album equivalent units total. (Lovato sold 98,100 — Billboard’s numbers differ slightly, but still track with this interpretation.)
— Skye Marie (@skyemariesena) October 17, 2015
The ties between Pentatonix and the chain go deep: They’re prominently displayed on the music section of its website, which otherwise highlights artists like Braid Paisley, Dolly Parton, and Casting Crowns. The band also did a Facebook chat with its fans last week that was sponsored by the Barrel.
So … we’re not saying Cracker Barrel is responsible for Pentatonix making it to No. 1 — they did score five Top 10 debuts before this — but … also, maybe we are?
“We are so excited Cracker Barrel is selling our new album in its stores,” said Pentatonix in a press release. “We love that they bring people together in a fun, family environment, so partnering with them was a natural fit.”