Week Ending Jan. 15, 2012. Albums: Good News & Bad News
The good news this week is very good: Adele's 21 tops the 6 million mark in U.S. sales in its 48th week. It's the first album to reach 6 million that quickly since Usher's Confessions hit that plateau in its 29th week in October 2004. Five other albums that have been released since Confessions have sold 6 million or more copies, but they all took much longer to hit the 6 million mark. Taylor Swift's Fearless took 96 weeks to cross that threshold, Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts took 104 weeks, Nickelback's All The Right Reasons took 105 weeks, Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway took a little more than 3-1/2 years and Green Day's American Idiot took six years and four months.
21 tops 100K in weekly sales for the 33rd time this week. What was the last album to top 100K in weekly sales 33 times? The aforementioned Confessions. (Hat tip: Keith Caulfield.)
Alas, there is also bad news this week, and it's very bad: Three albums made the top 10 this week with lower sales totals than any top 10 album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. Those albums, Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, Nickelback's Here And Now and Now 40, sold 20K, 19K and 17K copies this week, respectively. The previous low for a top 10 album was Ke$ha's Animal, which sold 20K in June. (Nielsen SoundScan rounds off its tallies to the nearest thousand, but Ke$ha's tally that week was higher than Coldplay's is this week.)
The slumping market for album sales makes Adele's achievement all the more amazing.
21 tops The Billboard 200 for the 16th week, which is the longest run since the Titanic soundtrack spent 16 consecutive weeks on top in 1998. It's the longest run for a regular studio album (excluding soundtracks) since Billy Ray Cyrus' Some Gave All logged 17 consecutive weeks at #1 in 1992.
This is the longest run at #1 for an album by a female artist since Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard soundtrack logged 20 weeks on top in 1992-1993. It's the longest run for an album by a British artist since the Police's Synchronicity was #1 for 17 weeks in 1983.
Adele will probably log several more weeks at #1. It's a foregone conclusion that she'll sweep the Grammys on Feb. 12. Also, "Set Fire To The Rain" may reach #1 on the Hot 100 this week, dethroning "We Found Love" by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris. The song jumps to #1 on Hot Digital Songs this week.