Chart Watch Extra: The Year’s Top Albums
You probably already know that Adele's 21 is the year's best-selling album, but did you realize that Adele also has the year's #1 single ("Rolling In The Deep") and #1 music video (Live At The Royal Albert Hall)? No other artist in Nielsen SoundScan history (which dates to 1991) has ever topped all three of these year-end charts.
21 sold 5,824,000 copies, which is the most for any album in a calendar year since 2004, when Usher's Confessions sold 7,979,000 copies. It's the most for an album by a female artist in a calendar year since Britney Spears' Oops!..I Did It Again sold 7,894,000 copies in 2000. And it's the most for an album by a British artist in a calendar year in Nielsen SoundScan history. (The old record was held by Spice Girls, whose debut album Spice sold 5,302,000 copies in 1997. In third place: The Beatles, whose hits collection 1 sold 5,068,000 copies in 2000.)
21 sold more than twice as many copies as the year's #2 album, Michael Buble's Christmas. This is only the second time in Nielsen SoundScan history that this has happened. In 2004, Confessions sold more than twice as many copies as that year's runner-up, Norah Jones' Feels Like Home.
21 is also the first album to rank as the year's best-seller both in CD sales (it sold 4,006,000 CDs in 2011) and digital sales (it sold 1,801,000 digital copies).
Buble's #2 ranking is the highest for a Christmas album since Josh Groban's Noel was the #1 album of 2007. It's the best showing for an album by a Canadian artist since Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love was the #2 album of 1998. This year marks the first time that artists who were born outside the U.S. have had both of the year's top two albums since 1996, when Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill and Celine Dion's Falling Into You held down the top two spots.
A second Christmas album, Justin Bieber's Under The Mistletoe, ranks #8 for the year. This is the first year in Nielsen SoundScan history in which two holiday albums made the year-end top 10.