Adele’s smoking hot new album, 25, just can’t seem to stop breaking records. After shattering the previous record for single-week album sales by a full million units at 3.38 million, the album has loaded up another title for its second week: According to Billboard, 25 is the first record since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991 to sell at least 1 million records in its second week. The album is now pushing 5 million units sold, with a little less than a day left in its two-week debut run.
25 began with a big bang, selling 2.433 million albums in less than four days, and breaking the all time record for most albums sold in one week with plenty of to spare. Billboard predicted the new record would sell at least 2.9 million by week’s end, which it bested by half a million units, blowing away the 2.415 million unit mark that the previous record holder, *NSync with No Strings Attached in 2000.
15 years after the boy band claimed its stake, global recorded music industry revenues in the streaming age are nowhere near where they were in 2000 — but that hasn’t stopped Adele.
The pop superstar, loved by both young and old, notably withheld 25 from music streamers like Spotify and Apple Music. While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much of an effect the decision had on album sales (1,500 streaming plays are equated as a single album sale under Billboard’s current system), the decision to withold the album from Spotify, Apple Music, and others was clearly the impetus for at least some Adele fans to buy the record on CD or digital download.
“Adele is a phenomenon,” said Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield to the New York Times. “She connects with fans in such a way that they want to invest in her, and her music.” The New York Times report also noted that a spokesperson from Target, the U.S.-based big-box chain which is selling an exclusive version of the CD with three extra songs, said that 25 had the “biggest opening-day sales of an album in the store’s history.”
The record is the first from Adele (now 27) since 21 came out nearly five years ago. Considering that record’s music industry dominance — including seven Grammy awards, more than 30 million records sold, and a chart-topper in more than 30 countries — the industry was hotly anticipating its follow-up. The fires were stoked when the first single released for the record, Hello, started burning up the sales charts as soon as it debuted, including selling nearly half a million copies in just its first two days.
One thing’s for sure: execs from XL and Columbia, the record labels which co-released 25, are going to be celebrating long into the new year.
Updated 12/4/2015 by Ryan Waniata: After smashing the single week sales record in its first week by over 1 million copies, Adele’s 25 sold another million units in it’s second week — the first album to do so since Nielsen began tracking sales.