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.