CSPC: Adele Popularity Analysis

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Original Album Sales – Comments

2008 19 – 8,300,000
2011 21 – 29,900,000
2015 25 – 19,300,000

Adjectives are missing to qualify those results. 21 is an incredible blockbuster, 25 an incredible follow up and 19 an incredible catalog seller. There is no need to tell no album did better than 21 since years. In fact, the last albums selling upwards this mark are Celine Dion Let’s Talk About Love and Shania Twain Come On Over, both released in November 1997, with the latter selling the most at over 35 million. As for 25, it is already just under the five albums pack from early 00s that remain the studio albums top sellers of the millennium except Adele own 21, a pack led by Norah Jones classic Jazz record Come Away With Me at nearly 24 million.

I know, I can hear from here already people claiming the market now is much weaker. While in absolute terms it is true, with much less regular buyers than in the past, in relative terms it isn’t, as digital world opened a door to a number of reachable consumers way bigger than anytime in the past. To connect with them, promotion on highest rated Medias is needed, a promotion too expensive to be profitable in our current music industry, which explains why nobody sells such numbers anymore. Well, nobody except Adele as she proved her appeal is massive enough to make the most expensive promotions, usually dedicated to movies or video games these days, profitable.

This phenomenon happened with Saturday Night Fever and Grease soundtracks as well as with Michael Jackson record breaking Thriller, all albums that impacted every Medias, not only the usual music promoters. Ironically – and logically -, outside the golden period of 1993-2000, those three albums are the three only albums ever along with Adele 21 and 25 records to sell more than 15 million copies during a calendar year. Adele 21 album did 18,1 million units in 2011, 8,3 million in 2012 and 3,5 million as a catalog album since. Her last album 25 shipped 17,4 million units during 2015.

8 thoughts on “CSPC: Adele Popularity Analysis”

  1. Hi MJD!
    Very impressive sales and success, despite only 3 albums.
    How increase the numbers after the promo period? Could “21” reach the threshold of 50 million albums sales equivalents as did “Nevermind”?
    PS: a little mistake with the albums European sales, they are not consistent with the values per country.

    1. Hello Tony!

      Thanks for the typo in European sales, it is now fixed. As for your question, the promo period is over for 21 but not for Adele. Although greatest hits-type albums have been losing ground, if she releases a fourth album and then a compilation the tally of 21 will strongly increase. In the same way, each live and / or DVD release will add sales into 21 total as they will most likely features its hits. Of course, ongoing sales of already issued products keep on increasing the total as everything considered the album added over 2 million from its 2015 results only. Nevermind is up to 50+ million some 25 years after release, my expectation is that 21 will be there in less than 15.

  2. Hi MJD! I want to point out that you made a mistake with 19 album sales number. On your breakdown, you have it at 8,4m. But on the last page and on page 5, you have it at 8,3m. Which one is correct?

  3. Hi MJD! I was wondering if you know how much 25 and 21 have moved over the past 8 months (pure sales and CSPC), as they keep on selling considerably well!

  4. Hi do you think you could update on adele? She has been pulling decent sales and streams

    Be nice to have an update if you have time

  5. I think her sales are very2 impressive for the current market condition, is simply because she is an adult contemporary singer. We haven’t had a great adult contemporary singer since Celine Dion and that was a long2 time ago when she was at her peak. Her singing adult contemporary songs is good for album sales because people who listen to this genre are usually old people and old people have the purchasing power to buy original album, plus older people have more nostalgia and they are more likely to buy a physical album sales compared to just streaming her songs through the internet.

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