Adele close to the unheard of: 10 million albums sold

Adele and all those Grammys (Photo: Reuters)

Adele, the soulful British songstress, has broken all kinds of records with her hugely successful sophomore album ’21′ since it was released in the US in Feb 2011. The album, which picked up 6 Grammys this year,  was by far and away the biggest selling album of last year with 5.8 million copies sold. And in 2012, at the halfway mark, despite endless plays in supermarkets, gyms and your dentist’s waiting room, it’s still burning up cash registers, moving another 3.7 million units through the end of June, or more than four times the next best-selling album (Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee in case you wondered).

Combined, “21” has sold 9.5 million copies in 15 months, putting it just 500,000 copies shy of the magical 10 million-mark. That’s unheard of in today’s music business. To put that figure in perspective, consider that the most recent album to cross the 10 million sales threshold was Usher’s “Confession,” which only broke that barrier this year. “Confessions” was released eight years ago, in 2004!

In fact, overall album sales for the first half of 2012 were down 3.2 percent, according to Nielsen Soundscan, as fans buy fewer and fewer albums — probably in favor of streaming and other forms of entertainment away from music.

From our story this week:

U.S. album sales for the first half of 2012 slumped after seeing growth last year, while digital track sales rose, according to music sales figures released by Nielsen SoundScan on Thursday.

At mid-year 2012, album sales were down 3 percent from 2011 at 150.5 million units sold over the last six months. Digital song sales, however, notched a 6 percent rise with 698 million tracks downloaded since January.

Adele’s ‘stock’ hits new 52-week high after Grammy boost

If Adele was a stock you would definitely go long. The young lady from north London, England has been breath of fresh air for the music industry as an artist and a person but especially for being the one truly bright spot of music sales over the last year.

After picking up six Grammy awards on Feb 12, Adele’s album ’21′, already the year’s biggest seller, has sold 730,000 albums in its 52nd week of release (the week ending 2/19/2012). This surpassed its previous biggest sales week when 399,000 albums were sold in the all important Christmas holiday week last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

Nielsen SoundScan said sales of  ’21′ were already up right after the Grammys thanks to the immediacy of digital albums selling 238,000 units in the week ending 2/12/2012. This was up from 122,000 in the previous week.