New Moon's soundtrack comprises songs that are all original and exclusive to the soundtrack and are performed by various indie rock and alternative rock artists. New Moon director Chris Weitz stated that the soundtrack would feature songs from Radiohead, Muse, and Band of Skulls.Death Cab for Cutie contributed the soundtrack's lead single, a song written specifically for the film called "Meet Me on the Equinox", which debuted September 13 during the MTV Video Music Awards. Bassist Nick Harmer says, "We wrote 'Meet Me On the Equinox' to reflect the celestial themes and motifs that run throughout the Twilight series and we wanted to capture that desperate feeling of endings and beginnings that so strongly affect the main characters." The music video for "Meet Me on the Equinox" premiered on October 7, 2009, and includes clips from the movie. The English rock band Muse contributed a remix of their song "I Belong to You", which appears in its original form on their 2009 album The Resistance. St. Vincent collaborated with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to create a song called "Rosyln". When describing the song, she said, "[Justin] sings in his beautiful falsetto and I'm actually singing very, very low... I think there's something vampirey and creepy about the two of us singing together. It's a simple, stripped-down kind of song." The soundtrack originally had a release date of October 20, 2009, but the date was moved up four days to October 16 due to "overwhelming and unprecedented demand".
Hot Topic locations across the United States hosted New Moon soundtrack listening parties on the release date, October 16, where fans were able to listen to the entire soundtrack and hear special messages from the featured bands. The album's CD booklet folds out into a New Moon poster.
Initial critical response to the New Moon soundtrack was generally favorable. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 70, based on 11 reviews.
The soundtrack debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and climbed to number one a week later after selling 153,000 copies in its first full week of release. It made history as the first time ever a soundtrack and its sequel have both reached the #1 spot on the chart. The album was certified Platinum by RIAA, and has sold 1,305,000 copies in the US as of August 2013.
In New Zealand, it was certified Gold on October 18, 2009, selling over 7,500 copies in its first two days of release. The album debuted at number two and was certified Platinum after its first week of release, selling over 15,000 copies. In Australia, the soundtrack rose to number one on the iTunes Store and has largely stayed in the top five since its release. It debuted at number two on the ARIA Albums Chart in the week beginning October 26, 2009, and was certified Platinum in its first week. In Mexico, the album is jumped to No. 1 on the international album charts and No. 4 on the main chart after five weeks inside the chart, caused by the success of the film. In the UK, the album debuted at number one on the compilations chart.