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UPDATE: The numbers are in, and it’s official. 25 sold 3.38 million copies in its first week.
The buzz has been building that Adele’s new album, 25, would break the record for the greatest one-week sales tally since Nielsen began tracking music sales in 1991. As it turns out, it didn’t just break the record, it blew it to smithereens.
Hits, a music industry trade magazine, reports that 25 sold close to 3.4 million copies in its first week. Billboard is expected to report a very similar figure on Sunday. That’s nearly 1 million more than the previous record-holder, *NSYNC’s No Strings Attached, which sold 2,416,000 copies in its first week in March 2000. (Adele’s eye-popping tally doesn’t count about 114K “equivalent units” representing the album’s digital track sales.)
But there’s a lot more to this story. Here are 12 more facts about Adele’s boffo first week that you may not have realized.
1. 25 sold nearly as many copies in its first week as Taylor Swift’s three most recent albums have in their opening weeks combined. Swift’s albums, each of which made headlines for million-plus debut weeks, sold 3,542,000 in their first weeks combined.
2. 25 sold slightly more copies in the U.S. this week than the #1 albums had sold in the previous 22 weeks combined. (That total is 3,348,000.)
3. 25 sold more copies in its first week than any album sold in the entire year in three recent years (2008, 2009, and 2013). The best-selling albums of those years were, respectively, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III (2,874,000), Swift’s Fearless (3,217,000),and Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience (2,427,000).
4. 25 sold nearly 10 times as many copies in its first week as Adele’s previous album, 21, which sold 352K in its first week in February 2011. Also: 25 sold nearly five times as many copies in its first week as 21 sold in its peak week, following the 2012 Grammys, where Adele walked off with six awards. 21 sold 730K that week.
5. 25 sold more copies in its first week than 21 sold in its first 28 weeks of release. Also: 25 sold more copies in its first week than Adele’s debut album, 19, has sold since it was released in 2008. (It has sold just north of 2.7 million.)
6. 25 is already the best-selling album of 2015. In fact, it has sold more copies than the next two best-selling albums of the year combined. They are Swift’s 1989 and Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Combined 2015 sales of those two albums: 2,885,000.
7. 25 sold more copies in its first week than No Strings Attached sold in its first two weeks combined. Sales of that album after two weeks: 3,227,000.
8. 25 sold more copies in its first week than the next two fastest-breaking albums by female artists combined. Those albums are Britney Spears’s Oops!… I Did It Again, which sold 1,319,000 in its first week, and Swift’s 1989, which sold1,287,000 in its first week. (The combined total is 2,606,000.)
9. 25 sold nearly as many copies in its first week as the next five fastest-breaking albums by British artists combined. Those albums are the Beatles’ Anthology 1 (855K in its first week), Coldplay’s X&Y (737K in its first week), Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (721K in its first week), Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream (701K in its first week), and Mumford & Sons’ Babel (600K in its first week). (The combined total is 3,614,000.)
10. 25 is on track to sell 6 million copies by year’s end. That would be the greatest total in a calendar year since 2004, when Usher’s Confessions sold 7,979,000 copies. (21 didn’t reach 6 million in either of the years it was the year’s best-seller. 21 sold 5,824,000 copies in 2011 and 4,414,000 copies in 2012.)
11. Adele is expected to have a second album in this week’s top 10. 21 is expected to rebound from #25 to right around #8. This will be the album’s 82nd week in the top 10. Adele had two albums (19 and 21) in the top 10 for four weeks in February and March 2012 on the heels of that year’s Grammy Awards.
12. 25 is also setting records around the world. It sold 800K copies in its first week in the U.K. This breaks the old first-week record set by Oasis’s Be Here Now, which sold 696K copies in its first week in August 1997. The numbers-crunchers at the Official Charts Company note that 25 sold more copies in the U.K. this week than the next 86 albums on their chart combined.