Adele: 25 bonkers facts about 25’s mindblowing first week

So how many copies did you think Adele’s 25 was going to sell in its opening week?

If you’re like almost everyone MBW’s spoken to since the record-breaking LP went on sale, you were probably way off.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

25 has now secured its place in the history books with a ridiculous first week performance that took even so-called industry experts by complete surprise.

“I highly doubt that she’ll reach NYSYNC’s sales plateau,” said notoriously forthright blogger Bob Lefsetz to Wired on the day of 25’s release.

NSYNC’s No Strings Attached topped 2.4m US sales in March 2000. Adele ended up beating it by almost 1m.

That’s not the only crazy stat to which the music industry should pay attention, though.

Here’s 25 of the suckers…

  • 25 sold 3.33m copies in its opening week in the US market, according to sales monitor BuzzAngle, and 3.38m according to Nielsen. That’s real sales, not ‘consumption equivalents’.
  • 51% of those sales were on physical formats – a total CD and vinyl tally of 1,682,840.
  • 49% came on download sites like iTunes – making up the remaining 1,645,152.
  • Adele’s first day US album sales, 1.49M, were better than the first week album sales for any album of the last 15 years.
  • Adele’s physical album sales alone would have been the fourth-best selling debut week album of the last 25 years in the US.
  • Same goes for her digital sales.
  • The hullabaloo around 25 also drew significant US sales to Adele’s previous albums: according to BuzzAngle, 21 sold 33,485 last week in the US, while 19 sold 19,860.
  • Adele “25” represented 67.1% of the total sales of the Top 200 albums in the US last week.
  • It also represented 57.2% of the total sales of the Top 1,000.
  • MBW understands that 25 sold more than 300k units in Canada last week, where it is issued on Beggars/XL with no licensee, setting a new week-one record. The last record holder in Canada was Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love, which sold 230,000 in its opening week in 1997.
  • 25 sold 803,000 copies in the UK in its opening week, according to the Official Charts Company.
  • That’s more than enough to take the crown for the biggest ‘chart week’ in history, beating the previous champ, Oasis’s Be Here Now, which notched up 696,000 in 1997.
  • However, according to Official Charts Company adjudicators, 25 has not taken the biggest ‘full week’ sales figure in history – ie. in an album’s first seven days. Despite some debate over possible historic up-weighting, the OCC says Be Here Now sold 813,000 units in its first full week, 10,000 sales ahead of 25’s tally.
  • 25 has now sold more than a million units in the UK. It hit the figure in 10 days (on Sunday, November 29), becoming the fastest album to do so in history.
  • Whichever way you look at it, the two fastest-selling albums in UK history are now independent. Both Be Here Now (Creation) and 25 (XL/Beggars) were released on independent labels and through [PIAS]/Vital, physically distributed by an independent company too.
  • In Australia, 25 debuted with 3 x Platinum sales in its first week – over 210,000+. The last album to debut at the top with a Platinum certification in Australia was the last No.1 album of last decade, Susan Boyle with “I Dreamed a Dream” (30-Nov, 2009).
  • In Germany, 25 sold 263,000 copies in its opening week – the biggest album launch in the market for eight years.
  • 25 sold 170,000 in its first week in France, making it the fourth biggest-selling album week of the past decade in the country and the third biggest first-week. In terms of physical units, 25 is the biggest first week of the past decade.
  • Hello, the lead single from 25, has now been viewed more than half a billion times on Vevo/YouTube.
  • It’s also been streamed just under 200m times on Spotify – generating around $1.4m for rightsholders.
  • 25 sold 1.9m units in just its first two days on sale in the US – which works out around 42,000 copies sold ever hour, 700 copies every minute and 12 copies every second.
  • The 1.9m US two-day figure was comfortably ahead of the first week sales of last year’s biggest artist album, Taylor Swift’s 1989, which sold 1.3m in its first seven days in the market.
  • Despite its huge week one number (3.33m), 25 has been purchased by one in every 96 Americans.
  • In the UK, 25’s first week (800,000 sales) saw it bought by one in 80 Brits. (That is, if people weren’t buying themselves extra copies.)
  • Adele never once posted a single digital buy link on Twitter or Facebook during 25’s opening week on sale.

Music Business Worldwide

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