With Adele, it’s all in the numbers. Her latest album, 25, debuted this week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 all-genres chart, selling twice as many units as every other album in the top 100 combined. As she crushed old sales records, she reset a few that could very well stand for quite some time. Not that it was totally unexpected, given a wildly popular video and the No. 1 single, “Hello,” to help lead the way…
Billboard reported November 30 that Adele’s third studio album, 25, topped the Billboard 200 albums chart after its first week of release, selling a total of 3.48 million copies. In so doing, it not only set the one-week sales record for albums, it numerically crushed all other albums (sales-wise) making the chart. To put the numbers in perspective, the No. 2 album, Justin Bieber’s Perfect, managed a very respectable 290,000 units sold (and in any other sales week might have been enough to place in the top spot). In fact, Bieber was No. 1 last week (and had the best first-week sales record for the year — 649,000 copies), topping the Billboard 200 with As noted, albums 2-100 sold less than half of 25‘s sales — combined.
So here’s what that 3.38 million albums sold means: 25 became not only the first album to sell over 3 million copies in a single week, beating the old record set by NSYNC’s 2000 album No Strings Attached (2.42 million sold), it became the biggest seller of the Nielsen Soundscan (point-of-sale tracking) era, which began in 1991. Since no other album this year has even sold 2 million copies yet, it immediately took over the top spot on the 2015 albums list.
According to Billboard, 25 accounted for 41 percent of all album sales for the week, selling an astounding 335 copies every minute. It also set a record for single-week digital albums movement (1.64 million), nearly selling a million more than the record-holder, Lady Gaga’s 2011 album Born This Way, which sold 662,000 digital units.
Adele’s 25 is an effort four years in the making, and apparently a wait her fans were willing to endure. In fact, during that wait, her previous album, 21, became Billboard’s all-time No. 1 album (announced in early November), having spent a total of 81 non-consecutive weeks in the Top 10 on the chart. That album, which also debuted at No. 1, returned for its 82nd non-consecutive week this week as well, sliding in at No. 10. And then there is the 25-year-old singer’s first album, 19, which jumped all the way to No. 20 to join in the Adele album sales frenzy.
And if that weren’t enough, Adele’s “Hello,” the lead single from 25, topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the fifth week in a row this week. “Hello” became the first song to sell a million units digitally in the Nielsen Soundscan era in its first week of sales and debuted at the No. 1 position. The song shattered the former top downloaded single, Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” which moved 636,000 copies to top the Hot 100 in February 2009. Total sales for “Hello” has now sold nearly 3 million units since its release.
But that was to be expected after the VEVO video for “Hello” set a record for single-day views when it debuted on YouTube on October 22. According to Music Times, “Hello” was viewed 23.2 million times in its first 24 hours of release, completely eclipsing the former most-viewed video, Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood,” which garnered 20.1 million views in its first day online.
And it doesn’t look as if Adele will be unseated in the second sales week, either. On December 2, Billboard reported that 25 has now sold over 4.2 million copies and could sell close to a million copies by week’s end.