Adele’s 21 is officially the first album to wind up as the year’s best-seller twice since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales for Billboard in 1991. The album sold 4,414,000 copies in 2012. It sold 5,824,000 copies in 2011. It’s one of only four albums in the Nielsen SoundScan era to sell 4 million or more copies in each of two calendar years. It follows Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill (1995-1996), Shania Twain’s Come On Over (1998-1999) and Santana’s Supernatural (1999-2000).
Even though it was in its second year of release, 21 sold more copies in 2012 than the best-selling albums of 2006 through 2010 did in those years. The album spawned three #1 hits, “Rolling In The Deep,” “Someone Like You” and “Set Fire To The Rain.” It won six Grammys in February, including Album of the Year.
This marks the first time that female artists have held the top two spots on the year-end album recap since 2009, when Swift and Susan Boyle were #1 and #2.
Red was the year’s best-selling album that was released in 2012. It has spawned four top 10 hits, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Begin Again,” “Red” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
A record five of the year’s 10 best-selling albums have been big country hits. Red is followed by albums by Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Jason Aldean. The previous best showing for country came in 1992 and 2002, when the genre was responsible for four albums in the year-end top 10.
One Direction is the first non-country act to place two albums in the top 10 on the year-end chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era. Garth Brooks had three of the top 10 for 1992. Taylor Swift had two of the top 10 for 2008.
Up All Night, which spawned the top 10 hit “What Makes You Beautiful,” is the year’s best-selling album by a group. It’s also the year’s best-selling debut album. This is the fifth time in the Nielsen SoundScan era that a boy band has ranked in the top three for year. Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC each achieved the feat twice.
Take Me Home has also spawned a top 10 hit: “Live While We’re Young.”
Mumford & Sons’ Babel is #4 for the year with sales of 1,463,000. This is the second year in a row that the British folk revival band has ranked in the year-end top 10. Sigh No More was #6 for 2011. Babel is a Grammy finalist for Album of the Year and Best Americana Album.
Believe has spawned three top 10 hits, “Boyfriend,” “As Long As You Love Me” (featuring Big Sean) and “Beauty And A Beat” (featuring Nicki Minaj). Deep trivia: This is the second time in the past three years that Bieber has had the year’s best-selling album by a Canadian artist. Michael Buble and Drake edged him out last year.
Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines is #8 for the year with sales of 1,105,000. The album sold an additional 651K copies in 2011. The album has spawned four top 30 hits, “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” “Drunk On You” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”
Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee is #9 for the year with sales of 1,071,000. Richie, 63, is the oldest artist to rank in the year-end top 10 in the Nielsen SoundScan era.
The music industry can’t be happy with the 2012 sales numbers. Just 10 albums sold 1 million or more copies during the year, which constitutes a new low for the Nielsen SoundScan era. (The previous low was 13, which was the final tally for both 2010 and 2011.)
Just 43 albums sold 500K copies, which is also a record low. (The previous low was 48, which was the final tally for both 2010 and 2011.)
P!nk’s The Truth About Love is #12 for the year with sales of 945K. The album spawned the top five hit “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).” The album received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Whitney Houston’s Whitney: The Greatest Hits is #14 for the year with sales of 886K. (All but about 2,500 of this tally were sold after her death on Feb. 11.) The album, which was first released in 2000, is the year’s #1 catalog album. It sold an additional 1,738,000 copies prior to this year.
Adele’s 19 ranked #20 for the year, giving Adele two albums in the year-end top 20 for the second year in a row. 19 ranked #17 for 2011. Adele is just the third artist in the Nielsen SoundScan era to have two of the year’s top 20 albums two years running. She follows Celine Dion (1997-1998) and Justin Bieber (2010-2011).
Drake’s Take Care is the year’s top-selling rap album with sales of 698K. The album sold an additional 1,247,000 copies in 2011. (I’m classifying Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, which sold 785K during the year, as pop.) Take Care is a Grammy finalist for Best Rap Album. It spawned two top 10 hits, “Make Me Proud” (featuring Minaj) and “Take Care” (featuring Rihanna).
Shake It Up: Live 2 Dance: Music From The Disney Channel Series is the year’s top-selling TV soundtrack with sales of 210K.
(Glee ran out of gas this year. No Glee albums rank among the top 200 for the year. The Glee phenomenon peaked two years ago when Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album was the year’s #16 best-seller.)
Romeo Santos’ Formula, Vol. 1 is the year’s top-selling Latin music album, with sales of 123K. It nosed out Prince Royce’s Phase II (111K).
Tenacious D’s Rize Of The Fenix is the year’s top-selling comedy album, with sales of 113K copies. The comedy troupe features Jack Black. The album is a Grammy finalist for Best Comedy Album.
I said at the outset that Adele’s 21 is the first album to rank #1 for the year twice in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The previous best showing for a year’s #1 album on the following year’s year-end chart was #17. That was the ranking for both Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory in 2002 and Taylor Swift’s Fearless in 2010.
Happy new year, everybody.
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