Adele’s ’21′ Top Selling Album Since 2004
Though the last few years have seen a trend of declining album sales as the music industry attempts to combat piracy and a tough economy, 2011 looks like it will be a bright spot. Perhaps most tellingly, the best-selling album of the year, Adele’s 21, has sold over five million copies, which makes it the top selling album since 2004. In fact, no album since that time has sold more than five million copies. All of these numbers were reported by Reuters and provided by Nielsen Soundscan, which is a tracking system used to provide sales numbers for the music industry throughout the United States and Canada.
But more than just that album, sales throughout the overall music industry are expected to be up more than three percent. The last time sales were up that much was also 2004. The best-selling album of that year was Usher’s Confessions, which moved 7.9 million copies. As record labels are increasingly worried about illegal downloads, legitimate digital music sales are up nearly ten percent this year, as compared to a one percent drop last year. One of the major forces behind that rise was a special Amazon.com promotion that sold digital copies of Lady Gaga’s May album Born This Way.
Of the five million sales of 21, over 3.5 million were physical copies, which is in contrast to a declining trend in physical sales. Though physical albums outsell digital albums by a margin of two-to-one, overall music sales, including singles, are split 50-50 between physical and digital sales.
21 was released in January by the English soul singer and has spawned hit singles like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You.” The album has gathered six nominations for the 54th Grammy Awards show that will be held in February of next year. Worldwide, the album has sold over 13 million copies.