Chart Watch Extra: Top Albums At Half-Time
Adele's 21 sold 3,668,000 copies in the first half of 2012, which is more than any other album has sold in the first half of the year since 50 Cent's The Massacre blew through 4,022,000 copies in the first half of 2005. 21 sold more copies in the first half of this year than it did in the first half of 2011 (2,517,000), when it was a new release. It's the first album to finish as the top-seller of the first half of the year twice since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991.
Otherwise, the album sales news was grim. 21 was the only album that sold 1 million copies in the first half. Eleven albums sold 500K copies. This is down from past years. (I have the depressing details below.)
This was the first time in Nielsen SoundScan history that not one album that was released in the first half of the year sold 1 million copies. The top-seller that was released in the first half was Lionel Richie's Tuskegee, which sold 912K. Close behind is Up All Night, the first U.S. album by teen sensations One Direction (899K).
Whitney Houston's 2000 greatest hits album, Whitney: The Greatest Hits is the #4 album of the first half, with sales of 818K copies since Jan. 1. This is almost entirely a reaction to her shocking death on Feb. 11. The top five for the first half is rounded out by the hits compilation Now 41 (714K).
The second five consists of Carrie Underwood's Blown Away (602K), Luke Bryan's 2011 album Tailgates & Tanlines (575K), Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (557K), Drake's 2011 album Take Care (549K) and Adele's 2008 album 19 (539K). Simple math tells us that Adele sold 4,207,000 albums in the first half, a period that included her sweep of the Grammy Awards and such high-profile media events as a 60 Minutes profile and a prime-time special on NBC.
Justin Bieber's Believe sold 490K in its first two weeks of release. It already ranks #12 for the first half of the year.