Week Ending May 13, 2012. Albums: 9 Million!
Adele's 21 tops the 9 million mark in U.S. sales this week. It's the first album to hit the 9 million plateau since Usher's Confessions hit the mark the week ending July 24, 2005. Remarkably, 21 reached the 9 million plateau faster than Confessions did, even though overall sales were much more brisk in 2004-2005. 21 has been out for 64 weeks. Confessions took 70 weeks to reach the magic number.
21 is the 29th album to sell 9 million copies since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard. It's the 24th regular studio album to reach this level. Studio follow-ups to the first 23 have achieved varying degrees of success.
On the high end, Backstreet Boys' 1999 album Millennium has sold 12,186,000 copies, which is 120% of the sales of its predecessor, Backstreet Boys (10,122,000). On the low end, Here I Stand, Usher's 2008 follow-up to Confessions, has sold a mere 1,308,000 copies, which is just 13% of the sales of its predecessor (9,987,000).
Shameless Plug: I just post a Chart Watch Extra in which I look at all of the follow-ups to these 23 monster albums. I've tipped you to the follow-ups that did the best and worst (on a percentage basis), but that leaves 21 albums that fell somewhere in between. But where? Here's a link to this fact-filled Extra.
Since 21 is still selling briskly, you can count on it becoming the first album to reach 10 million in U.S. sales since Eminem's The Eminem Show. That album was released in May 2002. It topped 10M in October 2011.
21 rebounds from #4 to #2 this week, boosted by Mother's Day gift-giving. The album was #1 on Mother's Day last year. Mother's Day also brought Adele back to #1 on Top Catalog Albums and Top Music Videos. We'll get to those shortly.
Blown Away is Underwood's first album to top The Billboard 200 for two weeks. It's the first album by an artist who rose to fame on American Idol to log two weeks at #1 since Kelly Clarkson's All I Ever Wanted in 2009. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Good Girl" rebounds from #46 to #37. "Blown Away" drops from #22 to #42.