It’s official: Adele’s “25” has somehow exceeded even its greatest commercial expectations, shattering the record for an album’s best opening sales week in the United States by nearly 1 million copies.
The record of 2.4 million copies held by *NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached” for over 15 years has gone bye bye bye via Adele’s epic 3.38 million first sales week for “25.” Here’s the revised top 10, with Adele very much on top:
|2||2000||No Strings Attached||*NSYNC||2,416,000|
|4||2000||The Marshall Mathers LP||Eminem||1,760,000|
|5||2000||Black & Blue||Backstreet Boys||1,591,000|
|6||2000||Oops!… I Did It Again||Britney Spears||1,319,000|
|9||2005||The Massacre||50 Cent||1,141,000|
What’s pretty amazing about this chart is how it clearly shows that the album sales industry’s 1999-2001 peak, with 60% of the albums on the top 10 coming from a period of less than two years dominated by teen-oriented pop (and Eminem). Back then, retailers were selling about 700 million CDs a year. In 2014 that number fell to just 247 million via either CDs or downloads. That’s how far the industry has fallen since then, which makes Adel’s week all the more staggering. Roughly converted to sales in 2000, “25” sold basically the equivalent of 8 million copies by 2000 standards.
Notably, the album also broke the records in Canada and the UK, topping Celine Dion’s “Let’s Talk About Love” and Oasis’s “Be Here Now,” respectively.
At this point, it’s pretty inconceivable that any album is going to break these records any time soon. In fact, the only artist capable of doing so is Adele herself.