Last week, we predicted that Adele would start 2012 with her 14th (non-consecutive) week at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, and lo! the prediction came true. Now that the final numbers are in for 2011 (full singles and album sales lists after the jump), Adele’s dominance has never been clearer. Selling 5.82 million copies of 21 during the calendar year 2011, Adele outsold second place holder Michael Bublé‘s Christmas by over 3 million copies, and marked the most sales of any album since 2004 when Usher‘s Confessions sold 7.98 million copies. “Rolling In The Deep” was also at the top of the singles sales list, with 5.81 million copies sold, the first single to ever exceed 5 million paid downloads in a year.
It will be interesting to see what 2012 holds for Adele, given that the singer/songwriter isn’t planning to turn out another album any time soon, and has been quoted as saying she wants to “lay low” for a while, and only release a new album when it’s perfect. Adele was the only artist in 2011 to have Top 10 sales for two singles (“Someone Like You” was #7), and was joined by Lady Gaga as the only other artist to have both a Top 10 sales ranking album and single. Given that Forbes named Lady Gaga the highest earning female artist in 2011, and that she’s set to release another album in 2012 when Adele could quite possibly drop off the radar entirely, could 2012 be Mother Monster’s year to shoot to number one? And if not, who will rise to the top of the pack in Adele’s absence? Will they be able to come close to Adele’s behemoth sales?
2011 was undoubtedly the year of Adele, with the young singer/songwriter proving that she is, indeed, boss of everything. She was on everyone’s “best of 2011″ list from industry observers, to fans, to VH1′s own staff; she cleaned up in Grammy nominations and sold the most digital copies of any song ever with “Rolling In The Deep.” Now Reuters has reported that Adele’s 21 is not only the top selling album of 2011, but it’s the top selling album since 2004! 21 has sold 5 million copies this year, and is the first album to reach over 5 million in sales since Usher‘s Confessions moved 7.9 million copies in 2004. According to Reuters, Adele’s amazing feat has coincided with a three per cent spike in music sales since 2010, which has us thinking that maybe Adele’s awesome success is partly responsible for stimulating the music consumer market. Given the advent of music sharing devices like Spotify, it’s a wonder that people are buying music at all, given the relative ease and inexpensive nature of sharing, and that there are now perfectly legal ways in which to file share. Reuters speculates that agressive sales tactics by artists and retailers has helped move records this year, but we’ve got an inkling that some of the merit can be attributed to the greatness of this year’s music releases, acting as a testament that fans will still spend hard earned dollars on their favorite artists and on high quality music.
Adele Sells Most Albums In A Year Since 2004 [Reuters]
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Merry Christmas, Michael Bublé! Bubés (which, btw, is our own personal nickname for him) has sold 480,000 copies of his Christmas album this week, which keeps him at the #1 spot on the Billboard charts — the seventh, and highest selling week, in the album’s shelf life. The album has sold 1.5 million copies in total and could potentially surpass Lady Gaga‘s Born This Way to be the year’s second-best selling album. So it seems that consumers are really getting into the festive spirit by way of music — but strangely enough the album hasn’t received the sort of critical attention or accolades that Born This Way, or say, Adele‘s 21 have. But still — with what’s turn out to be a faster-than-the-speed-of-light sprint at the end of the game, Bublé has managed to outstrip artists whose albums have been available for months. Talk about Christmas wishes coming true.
Hot on Bublé’s heels in the impressive/blink-and-you’ll-miss-it speedy sales stakes are The Black Keys, whose 7th album, El Camino, has sold 206,000 copies in its first week. This almost triples the sales of the Keys’ last release, Brothers (which sold 73,000 in the first week), and almost doubles the sales of Amy Winehouse‘s Lioness: Hidden Treasures (114,000, if you’re counting at home). Can anyone say “buzz band”? Perhaps The Black Keys strategy of not offering El Camino on music sharing services is paying off, after all.
Bublé Stays At #1, Sells Nearly Half A Mil In Seventh Week Of Christmas Album [Pop Dust]
The results are in! And it’s not just a matter of opinion either — Billboard has compiled the Hot 100 Songs of 2011 according to radio airplay audience impressions and sales data provided by Nielsen, as well as streaming data from other online sources. And the winner is…
Adele! (Duh.) The hottest song, from what is indubitably one of the most highly appreciated, universally loved albums of the year, “Rolling In The Deep” is number one on Billboard‘s Hot 100 Songs list. Katy Perry may have scored more #1s this year than Adele, but by Billboard’s count, “Firework” and “E.T” came in at #3 and #4, respectively. We’re pretty proud to see You Oughta Know artists Bruno Mars at #6 with “Grenade,” #15 with “Just The Way You Are” and at #26 with “The Lazy Song”, and Foster The People at #13 with “Pumped Up Kicks.”
This holiday season it’s snowing Bublé, as Michael Bublé‘s album Christmas scrapes into the number 1 spot this week on the Billboard 200 chart. Ousting Nickelback‘s Here And Now by a freckle, Bublé’s Christmas reached the top spot by selling 227,000 copies, a mere 0.18% more than Nickelback (which is the closest race since 2007). While we’re huge supporters of both artists, as November ends and the festive season is well and truly upon us, we can’t stop humming Bublé’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” so we think it’s pertinent that the Christmas themed album should inch ahead. “Christmas” is Bublé’s third number 1 album and marks his best sales week ever — Merry Christmas to you, Sir Bublé!
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s Talk That Talk shifted 197,000 units, good for third place. This debut is a smidge off her first week sales of Loud last year, which sold 207,000 units, but with “We Found Love” firmly entrenched at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “You Da One” steamrolling its way towards the Top 10—it’s sitting at #14 this week—RiRi’s camp is sitting pretty for an extended chart run.
Bublé Bests Nickelback, Rihanna On Billboard 200 [Billboard]
[Photo: Getty Images]
Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” (featuring Calvin Harris) hit the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts today, marking her 11th (!) song to hit #1 on the charts. All of her hard work is clearly paying off, as she is now inducted into an illustrious group that includes The Beatles, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Supremes and Whitney Houston as the only artists to reach this plateau. Singling out female performers, this achievement puts her in a tie with Whitney Houston for the female artists with the most #1 hits all-time, trailing only Mariah (18) and Madonna (12).
Also scoring a big milestone this week is Kelly Clarkson, whose new single “Mr. Know It All” has just become her ninth Top Ten hit. We were lucky enough to see Kelly perform this song (and a few as-yet-unnamed others) when she taped VH1 Unplugged last week, and we’re giddy with excitement over the rocketing success of her new single and album, Stronger. You’ll be able to catch Kelly’s full Unplugged performance when it premieres exclusively on VH1.com at 7 p.m. ET on November 17, which is just one day before the 11 p.m. premiere on VH1.
Rihanna’s ‘Found’ Her Way Back to Hot 100 Summit [Billboard]
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If, as George Herbert once wrote, “Living well is the best revenge,” we’d say Gavin DeGraw has paid back the unknown assailants who assaulted him last month many times over. We hate to use the assault as a narrative device, but it’s hard not to root especially hard for the singer in light of not only the attack he experienced, but also the extent to which he took it in stride, even as he was forced to drastically alter his promotional schedule for Sweeter, which came out last week.
Well, if August was a difficult month for the singer, September feel particularly vindicating, especially now that Sweeter has debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200. Such a strong first week is a nice feather in DeGraw’s cap as he prepares to kick off a co-headlining tour with David Cook next month. We wonder if he’ll incorporate his cover of “Grenade,” which he performed here at VH1, into his sets. Stay with us for the rest of that Top 20 Live set, coming soon!
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Top 40 has always been a notoriously fickle radio format, but ever since the teen-pop explosion of the late nineties, the average age of its artists has seemed to skew ever younger. Career longevity has come to mean ultimately appealing to listeners outside the Top 40 market. The exception that proves this rule is Britney Spears, whose “I Wanna Go” tops Billboard‘s Pop Songs chart this week, thus setting a record of 12 years, seven months and four days between first and last #1 appearances on the Top 40 airplay chart. (Her first appearance was “…Baby One More Time” the week of Feb. 20, 1999.)
The Pop Songs chart only launched the week of October 3, 1992, though. Would another artist hold the longevity record were the chart to have existed earlier? Not Madonna: her first #1 single was “Like a Virgin” in late 1983, and her last Pop Songs #1 was “Take A Bow” on March 25, 1995. (Like we said: Top 40 is fickle!) The Beatles‘ run of “She Loves You” to “The Long and Winding Road” only lasted seven years. Even Michael Jackson couldn’t beat Britney’s record, unless we’re sorely mistaken about the top 40 airplay “Ben” got.
The only artist who could challenge Britney is the one who previously held the record: Mariah Carey. 11 years, nine months, and 21 days elapsed between her first and most recent Pop Songs #1s (“Hero” and “Shake It Off,” respectively). However, presuming that her breakout smash “Vision of Love” would have topped the Pop Songs chart, her record would have been in the range of 15 years and two or three months. Britney would need a hit in May 2014 to top that notional peak?but that hardly seems outside the realm of possibility. Britney Spears may still be under thirty, but her Video Vanguard Award at this year’s VMAs was hardly a premature recognition.
The VMAs helped Adele set a chart record, too?her Hot 100-topping “Someone Like You” made the biggest-ever jump to #1 (up from #27) that wasn’t assisted by the market release of a single. Granted, any song available for digital download is a potential single, but any sales boost for the song was due not to sudden availability but to her vocal performance at the awards ceremony, accompanied only by a piano. That in itself is a Hot 100 first: Gary Trust at Billboard checked the archives and found that no piano-and-vocal-only song had topped the charts in the over 53-year history of the Hot 100.
The Spring of Adele almost became the Summer of Adele, and get ready, ’cause we may well be heading into the Autumn of Adele. Thanks to burgeoning radio support, and a boost in already unceasing sales (thanks in particular to her performance of the song at the 2011 Video Music Awards), “Someone Like You” became her second #1 single from 21 this week.
Adele’s first single from the album, the now nine-month-old “Rolling In The Deep,” is still in the top 20, but after spending April in the top ten and May and June at #1, it spent the rest of the summer ever-so-slowly receding from the chart peak, and continuing to sell even as radio has backed off its support in favor of the new single. Lil Wayne may have shifted nearly a million units this past week, but on the singles chart, Adele is still wearing the crown. It remains to be seen whether “Someone Like You” will continue her reign. The fan favorite from 21 was an obvious choice for follow-up single, but does it have the staying power of “Rolling In The Deep”? Will other pop songs have to settle for second place this fall? Revisit her VMA performance below, and let us know what you think in the comments!
The 2011 Video Music Awards had quite the effect on this week’s charts. Adele, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga were among the artists posted who posted sales bumps after performances a week ago Sunday. Possibly none of them benefited as much as Lil Wayne, whose album Tha Carter IV went on sale less than an hour after the show wrapped on the East Coast. His performance of “How To Love” and “John” was one of innumerable factors that led to a monster first week sales tally of 964,000.
These numbers are no joke. The album not only hit #1 with a bullet on the Billboard 200 (followed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers with 229,000 copies of I’m With You) but it also could become the second-best-selling album of the year. Granted, the fourth-quarter schedule is packed with heavy hitters like Coldplay, whose Mylo Xyloto drops October 25, but Lil Wayne’s album has already sold more than half in its first week of what Gaga’s Born This Way has sold since its release, without the help of the type of loss-leading that scored Gaga the year’s biggest first week. We doubt any album (from anybody) will come near the three-million-and-counting sales of Adele’s 21, but the race to second place just got significantly more crowded (and more interesting), as we suspect Tha Carter IV will have not-insignificant legs.
MTV VMAs Boost Adele, Beyonce on Billboard 200; RHCP Scores Big Debut [Billboard]
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