“Perfect Illusion” Update

“Perfect Illusion” was the 8th most-heard song overall on all of US radio during its first day of release, with 17 million Kworb-standard impressions. Radio impressions for subsequent days have been around 3.2M.

Primarily on the strength of first-day promotional airplay, “Perfect Illusion” debuted on the Pop Songs (Top 40) and HAC (Adult Pop Songs) weekly radio airplay charts for the tracking week ending Saturday, September 10th at #s 31 and 32 respectively.

NOTE: Sales and streaming are tracked on a Thursday – Thursday basis, and the two days of radio airplay were not alone enough to spark a debut on the Hot 100 for the tracking week that Billboard just reported on yesterday. This means that the initial promotional radio airplay spike will not count towards Gaga’s Hot 100 debut ranking. 

“Perfect Illusion” currently ranks at #4 on iTunes, and its sales decline appears to have slowed if not completely stabilized. Kworb.net currently estimates 95,000 first-week sales. Although not close to record-shattering, this is a robust figure that is consistent with the recent debuts of other big hits by major artists. It is comparable, for example, to the debut of Sia’s “The Greatest,” which is already clearly another huge hit. Of course, it is also comparable to the debut sales of Britney Spears’ “Make Me Ooh,” which subsequently stalled at radio.

“Perfect Illusion” currently ranks at #68 on the running weekly radio airplay chart. Given current trends, it should peak just inside the top 50 before its first-day promotional airplay drops off of the running tally.

On Spotify, “Perfect Illusion” was streamed 465,095 times in the United States on Monday, down from a peak of 594,798 on Friday, but up from a low of 422,776 on Sunday. It received 500,663 streams on Saturday. It is currently ranked at its low point of #30 on US Spotify. It debuted and peaked at #21. “Perfect Illusion” is currently at #32 on the Global Spotify chart with 1,432,210 streams on Monday.

By comparison, Sia’s “The Greatest” ranks at #11 on Global Spotify with 2,420,304 streams, and #15 on US Spotify with 613,759 streams. The #1 song on US and Global Spotify received 2,216,474 streams and 6,337,912 streams, respectively.

Gaga seems to have the strongest performance in Latin America and Mainland Europe. Here are the iTunes and Spotify positions for “Perfect Illusion” in every country in the world right now:

Perfect Illusion

 

“Perfect Illusion” scores solid 17 million first-day radio impressions

As expected, Lady Gaga’s new single has had a warm reception at pop and adult pop (HAC) radio during its first day of release, opening at #s 33 and 38, respectively, on the formats’ running weekly rankings.

Overall, Gaga’s new song was the #8 most-played song on US radio on Friday, largely based on the strength of promotional hourly airplay from iHeartRadio stations.

On iTunes, “Perfect Illusion” dropped to #2 on Saturday morning, in the face of continued strong sales for The Chainsmokers’ “Closer.” Both songs, however, maintain 2-1 sales leads over the #3 song, Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens.” As previously reported, Gaga’s new single is expected to debut at #2 on digital songs after its first full week of sales, with 100,000 to 150,000 copies sold.

On the Billboard Hot 100, “Perfect Illusion” seems likely to debut in the top ten. It may crack the top 5, but is unlikely to contend for the #1 slot in the absence of intervention (i.e. music video drop, new scandal, television appearances, etc.).

Reviews of “Perfect Illusion” have been all over the board, with many commenters praising the song as one of Gaga’s best, but some were “unimpressed.” This review sums up the nuances of the contradictory positions particularly well.

One of the most-liked comments on “Perfect Illusion”‘s official audio on YouYube reads:

Perfect Illusion:
1st listen: What just happened…
2nd: I’ll give it a few more chances
10th: IT WASN’T LOOOVE
30th: Bitch take the grammy

Weekly Recap: Madonna’s Touring $Ms and $Bs; Kelly Clarkson & Lady Gaga Sales Bounces

Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece by Piece” is approximately still #1 on iTunes one week after a touching American Idol performance. 

After you combine sales of the album version of the song with sales of the American Idol performance recording, “Piece by Piece” sales have just barely started to fall below those of Rihanna’s current #1 hit, “Work.” Kworb.net now projects 202,000 total sales for “Piece by Piece” over the tracking week ending March 3rd, 2016, compared to aggregate sales of 160,000 for “Work.”

With its massive radio airplay and streaming factored in, Rihanna’s “Work” will still easily retain the #1 position on the Hot 100, but don’t be surprised to see Kelly Clarkson in the top 5 when the new chart is revealed early next week.

In other news, “Piece by Piece” leaps onto the 50-song rolling Adult Pop radio airplay chart at #46 today with 286 weekly spins, representing 2.459 million audience impressions. After the strong reaction to her American Idol performance, it appears that Kelly’s label is once again promoting the song to radio. Watch for a debut on Pop songs too, plus a slow scaling of both charts over the coming weeks and months.

What I’m watching: Where is this song going to be in a month? How quickly does it gain radio airplay, and to what extent does radio airplay drive continued sales? Does this song get a little bit of token radio airplay, and then peter off once people get over her American Idol performance, or does it slowly build to a substantial radio hit? If this song does become a real radio hit, then what are the implications for Kelly Clarkson’s career, which until recently seemed to be fading?

Madonna Grosses $107.3M From Rebel Heart Tour & $1.24B for a 3rd place in all-time touring revenue, after only U2 ($1.6B) and The Rolling Stones ($1.8B). 

The other acts with $1B+ in touring revenue? Elton John $1.05B and Bon Jovi $1.03B.

Per Billboard, Madonna raked in another $19.3 million in touring revenue in January, bringing her Rebel Heart Tour total to $107.3 million. Suppose Madonna gets to pocket 30% of that total => her total cut is $32.19 million.

Suppose your name is Adele, and you sell more albums than any man has ever sold before: 8 million albums at $10.99/each => $87.92 million gross revenue. Suppose Adele gets 10% of that revenue => her total cut = $8.792 million.

This is why Madonna, whose songs are no longer played on the radio, and whose most recent album didn’t produce a single top 40 hit on the Hot 100, makes more money than Adele. Adele hasn’t been touring, and that is where the money is at.

Adele will, of course “remedy” that situation shortly.

What I’m watching: With two months of touring revenue still to be counted, could the Queen of Pop break $150M?

Lady Gaga Reaches Top 10 on iTunes

Kelly Clarkson isn’t the only one heating up iTunes sales. After an emotional Oscars performance surrounded by other survivors of sexual assault, Gaga saw the biggest iTunes sales bump, reaching #8 with her passion-project “Til it Happens to You” (featured on The Hunting Ground).

Gaga sold an estimated 27,000 copies during the tracking week, good for a debut somewhere in the bottom half of next week’s Hot 100, considering that it is paired with modest streaming and radio airplay.

Bottom line? Gaga has pulled off one more non-controversial and highly public performance, helping her worm her way back into the public’s good graces and maintaining a sky-high visibility. This places her in an extremely good position for her next album drop.

What I’m watching for: LG5, of course.

Trivia Question

Last Week: Lady Gaga has been drafted to sing at the Super Bowl and the Grammys. Last year, when Katy Perry performed the Super Bowl Half Time Show, she brought out a surprise guest. Do you remember who that guest was? Bonus point if you know the name and peak position on the Hot 100 of the only single she has since released.

Missy Elliott; “WTF;” #22 Hot 100 peak.

This Week: How much did Madonna’s MDNA Tour gross?

 

 

 

Weekly Recap: The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots, Hot 100 #1 Battle, Justin Bieber, Haley Reinhart, Adam Lambert, Adele, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Rihanna

As Rebecca Black once “sang,” to all of our entertainment, IT’S FRIDAY. Because, I mean, yesterday I think it WAS Thursday. And tomorrow is Saturday. And Sunday comes… afterward… If I can keep my days straight, I believe that Monday is the next one, right? Or was it Tuesday? Oh the travails of very-early-onset Alzheimers.

Obviously, it’s time for a weekly recap of what to watch in the music industry.

10) The Weeknd

In the Night” appears to have peaked at #5 on radio songs, as it is now clearly shedding airplay. After taking home a 4th place trophy for pulling off 45 consecutive weeks of having a single in the top 10 of the Hot 100, the question was whether The Weeknd‘s “In the Night” could continue the trend with the buzz of its music video release. It missed the top 10, peaking at #12 (Youtube streams were pretty wimpy… relatively, of course), and the question became whether it could reach the top ten at all on the strength of gradually building airplay. Now that its airplay has peaked, that finally appears impossible.

Except… he has been nominated for six Grammys this year (including Record and Album of the year) and he is slated to perform. We should probably expect a pretty big Grammy bump, at least in terms of sales. Will it be enough to vault The Weeknd back into the top 10? Maybe… Probably. We’ll just have to wait and see.

9) Twenty One Pilots

“Stressed Out” is actually not that far behind Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” in terms of radio airplay, and it is now growing at a substantially faster pace. “Stressed Out” could reach #1 on the Hot 100.

What am I watching? Global Youtube streams for “Stressed Out” are only at 1 million/day. Compare that to “Love Yourself”‘s 4 million/day. In terms of actual US streams and from all services, “Love Yourself” has more like a 40% lead on “Stressed Out” (still seriously problematic, since streaming is the most heavily-weighted component of Billboard’s charts).

8) Drake v. Zayn Malik v. Rihanna v. Justin Bieber

There is literally a four-way battle brewing for the top of the next Hot 100. Drake, Zayn Malik, and Rihanna all released massive new singles; meanwhile, Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” maintains massive streaming, and decent streaming as it nears the top slot on Radio Songs.

Estimated figures:

Drake – “Summer Sixteen” – 215K sales, 9.5m radio, 2m (?) (Drake’s song is only available for streaming via Apple, and it is not yet charting on any radio airplay charts; however, Billboard reported 3.4 million radio audience impressions in the first three days of the tracking week.)

Rihanna (feat. Drake) – “Work” – 163K sales, 48m radio, 10m streams (?) (Rihanna’s single is not available on YouTube or Spotify, and Tidal has not released streaming figures. However, Billboard reported 2.2 million first-day streams.).

Zayn – “Pillowtalk” – 250K sales, 14m radio, 17m streams

Bieber – “Love Yourself” – 105K sales, 140m radio, 15.8m streams

My bet? Zayn appears to have the edge with “Pillowtalk.” This guess is partly because the chart-formula was just rebalanced to give more weight towards sales, but leaving streaming as the biggest component.

7) Justin Bieber

Replaced himself atop the Hot 100. 5th week atop Artist 100.

 

6) Haley Reinhart

She’s reversing course on AC and finally starting to fall off with “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Slow growth on HAC, where she has now reached #34.

5) Adam Lambert

Adam finally dropped off of Pop songs altogether, and he has seemingly reversed course on HAC after peaking at #23. He is currently at #24 on the chart, with no daily spin gain or loss. Essentially, Adam’s single is done with its regular chart run. It is time to either A) pull a fabulous stunt and turn “Another Lonely Night” into the new official ballad of SINGLES AWARENESS DAY 2016; or B) start promoting “The Original High” so that it can have a legit chance to conquer the summer!

NOTE: Several years after Adam rooted for Haley on her season of American Idol, their paths are about to cross in terms of radio airplay. Adam is stalled/dropping from just over 4 million weekly audience impressions, while Haley’s song is just approaching the 4 million mark. Both artists are producing great music and proving that they will have staying power in the music industry (Adam was recently named the top-earning American Idol alum of 2015 with an estimated $10m income from various projects; Haley has now been the subject of multiple viral Youtube sensations over the course of 2015 and just made her TV debut as the voiceover of an animated young boy on the Netflix original, “F is For Family.”

4) Adele

“When We Were Young” is reversing track on radio airplay. It has basically stalled at #11. It needs a music video or Grammy performance with a little bit of Adele sparkle dust to give it a stimulus, or Adele needs to release a new single. Why? 25 sales are lagging behind projections. Basically, 25 is falling into Taylor Swift’s 1989 pattern, after spending its first five weeks steadily 3X 1989. I think we would all like to see Adele keep selling massive numbers of records and keep breaking records. So, WAKE UP, Adele. Snap your fingers and make the magic happen! ;P

3) Selena Gomez

VAULTS into Top 10 with new single “Hands to Myself” (with both the biggest gains in streams and digital sales for the week). “Hands to Myself” is the third single off of Revival, but Selena doesn’t seem to be slowing down. She previously reached #6 with two prior singles: “Come & Get It” and “The Heart Wants What it Wants” (and, including her work as Selena Gomez & the Scene, the Top 40 (none higher than #20) with 6 singles). With Revival, Selena has reached the ranks of #5-#7 with all three singles to-date, basically making her prior albums look amateurish. BTW, I’m digging the new music.

What am I watching? Will “Hands to Myself” hit the same radio peak as prior singles, or is it just popping into the top ten for a superficial visit? I’ve also noticed that “Hands to Myself” has a remarkable initial Youtube bump (topping 4 million/day for a few days), but that it has since fallen to (what appears to be a sustainable) 1m/day. It will be interesting to see whether it keeps deflating, and it will be interesting to see if the strong views are an indication of relative strength, or whether they are simply due to the steamy content.

2) Lady Gaga 

Gaga is about to set a new record: She will be the first person EVER, within a single calendar year, to sing at: 1) the Super Bowl; 2) the Grammys; and 3) the Oscars. Meanwhile, she just WON a Golden Globe for her performance as the star of American Horror Story: Hotel (to which she is presumably returning for another season), and she is NOMINATED for BOTH a Grammy AND an Oscar. To top it off, her passion project, “Til It Happens to You” (which is responsible for her Oscar and Grammy nominations) is legitimately scaling an airplay chart, as she rises 26-23 today on Adult Contemporary (the third-greatest gainer by spins).

What am I watching for? LG5. Gaga is reportedly planning on dropping an album this year. Gaga’s last (pop) album, 2013’s Artpop, was lampooned as a flop (relative to her prior albums), but it was still the 9th best-selling album of 2013, and its debut sales week (258,000) was comparable to those of contemporaneous albums by Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Katy Perry. Plus, Lady Gaga is hot right now. She feels confident. And, quite honestly, Lady Gaga can really throw a punch in the music industry when she is feeling it. I can feel a storm brewing, and I will be fascinated to see what Lady Gaga drops next.

1) Rihanna

One of the biggest stories on the internet right now is how Rihanna’s new album was just certified platinum (representing 1 million sales) after about 14 HOURS of sales (Tidal claims to have moved over 1.4 million units, with 484,833 of them actual sales); and yet Neilson Soundscan officially reported first-week sales of only 460 copies. It’s not ACTUALLY a mystery: 1) Samsung bought and gave away 1 million copies for free, which Billboard and Neilson didn’t count but RIAA did. 2) Tidal was apparently reporting worldwide sales. And, 3) the sales started on the last day of the tracking week.

But, then, the question is whether Rihanna’s album is a “success.” I can report unequivocally that this is probably Rihanna’s single MOST successful album (as ALBUM, not necessarily as compilation of singles) to date. 1) Despite an insane number of massive singles (she already has the same number of #1 hits as Michael Jackson) Rihanna has only moved more than 2 million units (in the USA) of ONE of her seven prior albums, and neither of her two most recent releases has sold more than about 1.2 million copies TOTAL (in the USA). Free giveaway or not, Rihanna basically just brought her album to a par level of distribution in 14 hours–that’s impressive. Tack on the fact that it is still actually going through a legitimate sales run (it is slated to easily top the Billboard 200 in its second week [first full week] with about 125,000 incontrovertible pure album sales, plus massive streams and sales of lead single, “Work”), and the massive success of lead single, “Work” (which already debuted at #9 on the Hot 100 after a fraction of a week, and should challenge for a spot at or near the top of the chart after its first full week of sales, airplay, and streaming are factored in).

What am I watching for? How many albums will Anti sell? How will sales hold up over time? Will Rihanna find success with other singles on the album, or will it go the way of Beyonce (pitiful singles sales after everyone already bought the album)? It has become clear that “Work” will be a legitimate Top 5 hit for Rihanna, but can it make it to #1, either now or later? It is radio’s greatest gainer today, so it might reach number one after a few weeks of strong radio growth, even if it doesn’t make it based on initial sales.

Trivia Question

Every week, the first reader to post a correct answer in the comments section will get a point. I will keep a running scoreboard and post the answers with the next week’s trivia question.

  1. Adele’s “Hello” recently set a record for being the only song to ever sell more then 1,000,000 DOWNLOADS in a single week. What song holds the record for the largest weekly singles tally OVERALL, including both digital AND physical single sales?

 

“Ghost Town” Crosses 100 Million Views on Spotify

On October 11th, I argued that “Ghost Town” was a legitimate hit. I compared global sales, streams, and airplay to Taylor Swift’s undeniable smash “Bad Blood,” and, while it was clear that “Bad Blood” was a bigger hit, it was also clear that “Ghost Town” had legitimately achieved a substantial degree of international success. In short, I argued that Adam Lambert’s latest single is competitive with the releases of current major pop stars, and that it should therefore be given some of the credit that Adam’s fans have long craved.

Now, “Ghost Town” has amassed over 100 million Spotify streams worldwide. 100,939,106 streams to be exact.

Spotify numbers in perspective: 

  1. The most streamed track on Spotify in 2015 was Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” with 567,796,039 streams, as of this writing (12/10/15).
  2. Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” is unfortunately not available for comparison, since Taylor Swift’s catalogue is not available on Spotify.
  3. Adele’s record-shattering lead single “Hello” — which became the first song to sell over 1 million copies in 1 week six weeks ago — has been streamed 238,381,009 times on Spotify.
  4. Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband,” which was released in March (one month before “Ghost Town” was released in April) peaked at #14 on the US Hot 100 and #20 on the UK Singles Chart (“Ghost Town” peaked at #64 in the US and #71 in the UK) has a remarkably narrow margin of victory over “Ghost Town” in terms of global Spotify streams at 112,559,696.
  5. Meghan Trainor’s followup, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” which was released in June, and which is currently at #8 on the US Hot 100 (in other words, a current, huge hit from one of the biggest names in the US music scene right now) has only been streamed 83,326,552 times.
  6. Adam Lambert’s only top ten hit on the Hot 100, “Whataya Want From Me,” which was released in the afterglow of American Idol, has only been streamed 27,580,387 times globally on Spotify.
  7. Demi Lovato’s current singles, “Cool for the Summer,” and “Confident,” which have peaked at #s 11 and 21 (so far) on the US Hot 100, have been streamed 117,598,617 and 49,799,836 times, respectively.
  8. Selena Gomez’s current singles “Good for You,” and “Same Old Love,” which have reached #s 5 and 10 on the US Hot 100 (so far), have been streamed 207,819,818 and 89,110,709 times on Spotify respectively.
  9. Drake’s much hyped US Hot 100 #2 hit, “Hotline Bling,” has been streamed 229,772,237 times globally.
  10. Fallout Boy’s “Uma Thurman,” which peaked at #22 in the US, has been streamed 62,360,888 times on Spotify.

 

Refresher on Some Other “Ghost Town” Stats:

  1. “Ghost Town” has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
  2. “Ghost Town” has been streamed over 47 million times on YouTube. It is still getting about 200,000 streams/day, only down 33% from its radio peak of about 300,000 streams/day.
  3. “Ghost Town” peaked at #17 on Adult Pop on US radio.
  4. “Ghost Town” peaked at #20 on US Pop Songs (radio airplay).
  5. “Ghost Town” remains at #84 on the Global Shazam Chart, having been shazammed 3,823,041. Adele’s “Hello,” at #1 on the chart, has only been shazammed 3,769,055 times. The all-time record is held by Avicii’s “Wake me Up” with 20,921,403 shazams. 118 songs have earned the 5 million shazams requisite for entry into the Shazam Hall of Fame.
  6. “Ghost Town” peaked at #s 11 and 2 in the 1st world markets of Germany and Australia, respectively.
  7. “Ghost Town” is still charting on the iTunes charts of 29 countries, approximately 8 months after its release, and long after it fell off of the US iTunes chart. Its highest rank is currently in Kyrgyzstan, where it ranks at #3. Notably, it still ranks at #22 in Poland and #72 in Germany.
  8. Notably, while Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” only ranks higher than #27 in one country (#18 in Peru), “Ghost Town” continues to post such numbers in 5 countries. “Bad Blood” is ranked above #60 in 6 countries; “Ghost Town” in 9. “Bad Blood” ranks in the top 100 in 12 countries; “Ghost Town” in 15.
  9. In fact, Taylor Swift’s current single “Wildest Dreams,” is only charting in the top 5 on the iTunes charts of Namibia and the Cayman Islands. Its highest rank in a first-world country is #22 in Denmark. It is only charting at #137 in Germany–lower than “Ghost Town.” It’s not even charting at all in Poland.
  10. “Ghost Town” became a Top 5 hit in Russia, in the midst of all of the debates about whether its okay to criminalize homosexual advocacy, etc. It is still charting on Russian iTunes at #139.

The Takeaway

Adam Lambert’s current songs perform better on Spotify than on YouTube. This trend is not representative of all artists (Adele’s “Hello,” for example, has about 33% more streams on YouTube than on Spotify), and it would be interesting in future articles to delve into the significance of which artists have better YouTube v. Spotify performance.

Also, Adam Lambert is maintaining a critical level of presence in the music industry such that he is likely to be a permanent presence at least. He isn’t fading away, in the manner of numerous American Idol alumni before him. He can tour and fill chairs. He will have plenty of money to buy $2000 shoes (since most artist money in the modern music industry comes from touring). And, he will always retain the potential to break out into mainstream US success if he sings the right song.

— More — 

How is followup single, “Another Lonely Night,” doing so far?

It has peaked at #29 on Adult Pop so far, as it continues to post modest weekly gains. Unofficially (since Billboard only publishes the top 40), it has reached #49 on Pop Songs after almost one month of radio promotion.

“Another Lonely Night” may be getting a slow start at US radio, but (granted, with an early release) it took off like a rocket in Poland, where it has already pushed into the Top 5. However, it doesn’t seem to have had much of a global impact yet otherwise. It may be that other countries will pick up on the song after it slowly builds support on US radio. Or, it could be that other country’s lack of support for the song is a significant indicator of its fundamental weakness (which would translate into weak future performance in the US). After all, “Ghost Town” was in a substantially stronger position at this time in May.

I personally have long felt that “Another Lonely Night” was a stronger single choice than “Ghost Town,” but my perspective could be wrong. Only time will tell. For now, the early numbers from “Another Lonely Night” are less than stunning. On the other hand, numbers from “Ghost Town” look pretty good in perspective. Additionally, I would point out that pop radio stations don’t yet have access to callout media research on audience reactions to “Another Lonely Night.” When Ariana Grande’s “Focus” came out, it was immediately embraced by radio, and it skyrocketed up the charts. Then, when the first callout reports (in which it had amassed a critical ratio of audience familiarity) came out, it turned out that 40% of people disliked the song–slightly more than the number of people who liked it. Almost immediately, spins went from skyrocketing to stagnant, and then they slowly started dropping off, after the song had already ascended to #13 on pop radio and #23 overall. So, it is entirely possible that “Another Lonely Night” will ultimately be well-received by pop listeners after it slowly ascends to a critical mass of familiarity.

Do you think “Another Lonely Night” will have a breakout moment? Do you think it is a stronger single than was “Ghost Town?”

Adele’s 25 – 5,706,000 Official WW Copies First Week

25 Sales in some of the largest markets –
USA 3,377,900 (Nielsen Music) (3.48 million including track and stream equivalent album sales)
Japan 13,000 (Oricon)
United Kingdom 800,300 (OCC)
Germany 263,000 (GfK)
France 169,700 (SNEP)
Canada 305,900 (Nielsen Music)
Australia 126,100 (ARIA)
Italy 46,000 (FIMI)

25 broke first-week sales records in the U.K. and the USA. It went triple platinum in both the US and Australia. Overall, it sold 5,706,000 copies in its first week, instantly becoming the best-selling album of the year (both in the USA AND globally).

In the United States, the prior one-week sales record was held by NSYNC’s No Strings Attached, which bowed with 2.4 million in 2000, at the height of the CD and boy bands, and before streaming and pirating ravaged the music industry. At a time when the album is practically dead, Adele rose from the ashes and completely decimated NSYNC’s record.

What’s more, no album has EVER sold more than 1 million copies before in more than one week. Adele is now poised to do just that. Taylor Swift has been roundly praised for being the only artist to bring three albums to debut with million+ weeks, and for being the only artist not named Adele or Lady Gaga to debut with 1m+ since 2006. But Taylor Swift’s albums each debuted with just over 1 million. 1989 is her strongest of the three, and it debuted with only 1.28 million. In other words, Adele is now poised to do in her SECOND WEEK what everyone is amazed that anyone can still do in their first week.

Last year, the Frozen album was #1 for 13 weeks, and kept selling records all year long. It was the top-selling album of the year for every week until the very last week of the year, when Taylor Swift’s 1989 barely eclipsed it. Both albums ended up with about 3.5 million copies sold in the entire year. (Note: in 2013, the top-selling album was Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience, with only 2.43 million; Adele’s 21 was the best-selling album of 2011 (5.82 m) and 2012(4.41 m)). Thus, Adele’s 1-week total is within spitting distance of the total yearly sales of the biggest-selling album of 2014.

How many copies will 25 sell by the end of this year? HitsDailyDouble.com is currently predicting that it will sell over 7 million copies by years’ end. In order to sell more than both Frozen (3.53m) and 1989 (3.66m) put together, it will need to sell 7.19 million copies. Billboard estimates that it has already sold 4.2 million copies in less than two weeks. So, it would need to sell another 3 million copies over the next 4 weeks, for an AVERAGE of 750,000 copies/week.

Can Adele sell over 1 million copies in THREE weeks (namely, the week right before Christmas)? Maybe. Regardless, it is now clear that Adele has successfully followed up 21 (which was recently named the top Billboard 200 album of all time, ahead of even Thriller and The Sound of Music) with a comparable global smash. And that, is seriously an accomplishment.

Projections

Update: second week sales for 25 are finalized at 1,021,558. I have adjusted figures in my projections accordingly. I would also like to point out the remarkable accuracy of my 1.025 million running projection… ;P

Here are current projections from hitsdailydouble.com:

Week 47 –  3,377,900 (debut)

Week 48 – 1m

Week 49 – 600k

Week 50 – 800k

Week 51 – 1m

Week 52 – 500k

Year-end projected – ~7,277,900

I find these projections generally reasonable. But Hits thinks it is a conservative estimate, and I agree. I also want Adele to have a record 3 million+ sales weeks, however, so I am going to bump up all of the numbers by a 25,000 err0r margin.

Week 47 –  3,377,900 (debut)

Week 48 – 1.025m

Week 49 – 625k

Week 50 – 825k

Week 51 – 1.025m

Week 52 – 525k

Year-end projected – ~7,402,900

Then, let’s assume that sales in 2016 follow close to the same pattern for Adele’s 25 as they did for Taylor Swift’s 1989. Here is what Adele’s sales might look like:

Key: Week # Last day of tracking week  – Projected Adele sales based on Taylor Swift sales, +/-% (Taylor Swift figures in parenthesis for comparison, +/-%) (additional explanatory parentheticals) [Actual figures as they come in updated in brackets; *indicates sales figure is from HitsDailyDouble, rather than the slightly more authoritative Billboard/Soundscan #s (which come out later if they are released at all), +/-%].

Week 44 11/5 – NA (1,287,000, debut)

Week 45 11/12 – NA (402,000, -69%)

Week 46 11/19 – NA (312,000, -22%)

Week 47 11/26 – 3,377,900, debut (212,839, -32%) [3,377,900]

Week 48 12/3 – 1,047,149, -69% (281,000, +32%) [1,021,558*, -70%]

Week 49 12/10 – 816,776, -22% (230,000, -18%)

Week 50 12/17 – 825k, +1% (278,000, +21%)

Week 51 12/24 – 1.025m, +24% (331,000, +19%)

Week 52 12/31 – 525,000, -49% (326,000, -2%)

Year End – 7,616,825 (3.66 million) (difference: 3,956,825; Adele +108.1%)

Week 1, 1/7 – 341,250, -35% (172,000, -47%)

Week 2 1/14 – 279,825, -18% (111,000, -35%) 1/14

Week 3 1/21 – 248,205, -11.3% (92,000, -18%)

Week 4 1/28 – 215,938, -13% (81,609, -11.3%) (1 million track and streaming equivalents expected)

Week 5 2/4 – 187,866, -13% (71,000, -13%)

Week 6 2/11 – 204,023, +8.6% (77,132 +8.6%) (10,293,932 total track equivalent album sales for diamond certification; 9,093,932 pure album sales)

Week 7 2/18 – 244,419, +19.6% (92,430, +19.8%)

Week 8 2/25 – 144,696, -40.8% (55,618, -40.8%) 2/25

Week 9 3/3 – 123,136, -14.9% (47,381, -14.9%)

Week 10 3/10 – 109,591, -11% (42,189, -11%)

Week 11 3/17 – 99,180, -9.5% (38,200, -9.5%)

Week 12 3/24 – 89,163, -10.1% (34,341, -10.1%)

Week 13 3/31 – 86,399 -3.1% (33,292, -3.1%)

Week 14 4/7 – 101,346, +17.3% (39,038, +17.3%) (10,091,862 total copies; diamond certification in USA in pure album sales)

Week 15 4/14 – 69,726, -31.2% (26,845, -31.2%)

Week 16 4/21 – 62,056, -11% (23,898, -11%)

Week 17 4/28 – 61,125, -1.5% (23,534, -1.5%)

Week 18 5/5 – 53,301, -12.8% (20,533, -12.8%) (2,721,245 pure album sales ytd; 10,338,070 total)

Week 19 5/12 – 65,027, +22% (25,094, +22%)

Week 20 5/19 – 55,273, -15% (21,265, -15%)

Week 21 5/26 – 104,466, +89% (40,233, +89%)

Week 22 6/2 – 88,796, -15% (34,248, -15%)

Week 23 6/9 – 88,796, +0% (34,280, +0%)

Week 24 6/16 – 81,693, -8% (31,671, -8%)

Week 25 6/23 – 75,157, -8% (29,116, -8%)

Week 26 6/30 – 75,157, -8% (29,097, +0%)

Week 27 7/7 – 69,896, -7% (26,916, -7%)

*Week 28 7/14 – 75,488, +8% (29,212, +8%)

Week 29 7/21 – 66,429, -12% (25,662, -12%)

Week 30 7/28 – 60,451, -9% (23,425, -9%)

Week 31 8/4 – 52,592, -13% (20,296, -13%)

Week 32 8/11 – 49,962, -5% (19,371, -5%)

Week 33 8/18 – 49,962, -0% (19,293, -0%)

Week 34 8/25 – 45,466, -9% (17,597, -9%)

Week 35 9/1 – 65,471, +44% (25,307, +44%)

Week 36 9/8 – 67,435, +3% (26,074, +3%)

Week 37 9/15 – 54,622, -19% (21,158, -19%)

Week 38 9/22 – 63,908, +17% (24,828, +17%)

Week 39 9/29 – 53,683, -16% (20,343, -16%)

Week 40 10/6 – 49,388, -8% (18,803, -8%)

Week 41 10/13 – 52,845, +7% (20,058, +7%)

Week 42 10/20 – 50,731, -4% (19,213, -4%)

Week 43 10/27 – 45,151, -4% (17,105, -11%)

Week 44 11/3 – 42,442, -6% (17,230, -6%)

Week 45 11/10 -36,924, -13% (15,050, -13%)

Week 46 11/17 – 32,494, -12% (13,012, -12%)

Week 47 11/24 – 65,637, +102% (28,700, +102%)

Week 48 12/1 – 112,896, +72% (51,391, +72%) (another 1,898,238, for 4,619,483 ytd; 12,236,308 total pure album sales)

Week 49 12/8 – 158,054, +40%

Week 50 12/15 – 205,471, +30%

Week 51 12/22 – 287,659, +40%

Week 52 12/29 – 143,830, -50%

Final – 5,414,497, ytd; 13,031,322 total pure album sales

New year: sharpness sales dropoff will likely depend substantially on whether new singles are still being successfully promoted to radio, but it should be expected to drop fairly quickly down at least to the pre-Christmas boom levels. Without current singles, the album would likely stabilize between 20k and 3ok and then drop at a rate of perhaps -10%/week.

Week 1 1/5 – 71,915, -50%

Week 2 1/12 – 43,149, -40%

Week 3 1/19 – 30,204, -30%

Week 4 1/26 – 27,184, -10%

Week 5 2/2 – 26,640, -2%

 

 

Adele Beat NSYNC’s One-Week Record in Less than Half a Week

Update: With just over one day of tracking remaining, sales are over 3 million. Hits Daily Double is now projecting 3.5 million sales. I don’t know how they arrive at that number, but my guess is that it has something to do with Black Friday, a divergence in Billboard and Hits methodology, and physical retailers possibly under-reporting current sales. Either way, I think 3.2m+ is a safe bet.  

Update: With just over two days of tracking week remaining, sales are at 2.8 million. Billboard has finally increased its estimate to 3 million for the week. It is clearly going to sell at least 3.1 million, possibly even 3.2 million or 3.3 million, given that it sold 500,000 copies in the past two days. Billboard purposively underestimates sales so that it can generate more traffic to easy stories when Adele “outperforms” expectations. 

Update: Billboard has now confirmed that Adele’s 25 broke NSYNC’s record with 2.433 million copies in just over three days of sales. Billboard is predicting 2.9 million total sales for the week; I think the total will be well over 3 million.

Update: HitsDailyDouble projects 5.05 million copies sold by December 31st, for a whopping 45% of all 2015 album sales (that is triple the 15% that NSYNC ended up with in 2000, when they made the 2.416 million weekly sales record). 

In the year 2000, at the height of the CD and boy band fever and before piracy and streaming, 88 albums sold more than one million copies, and six accomplished the feat in a single week. It was then that NSYNC set a record that no other artist since has come close to touching–No Strings Attached sold 2.415 million copies in a single week. The runner up, in fact, was another NSYNC album that sold 1.880 million copies the next year. Although 20 albums have sold more than 1 million copies in a single week since the beginning of Soundscan sales tracking in the early 1990s, a Backstreet Boys album and Britney Spears’ Oops I Did it Again are the only others to have sold more than 1.3 million in a tracking week.

Now, three of the past four albums to sell one million copies in a week have been by artists named Taylor Swift (the fourth was Lady Gaga’s Born This Way in 2011, which was famously discounted in the Amazon store for $1 during its debut week, accounting for perhaps 400,000 of its 1.1 million sales total). Taylor Swift is the only artist to ever sell more than one million copies in a week with three separate albums, and it was once thought that she might be the last artist to ever do so.

Then Adele happened. 

Here is a list of albums selling more than one million copies in a week: Artist; Title; Sales; Sales Week Ending

Adele; 25; TBD*; Nov. 26, 2015 (*sales for debut week to be determined; estimates between 2.9 and 3.4 million)
Taylor Swift; 1989; 1,287,000; Nov. 2, 2014
Taylor Swift; Red; 1,208,000; Oct. 28, 2012
Lady Gaga; Born This Way; 1,108,000; May 29, 2011
Taylor Swift; Speak Now; 1,047,000; Oct. 31, 2010
Lil Wayne; Tha Carter III; 1,006,000; June 15, 2008
50 Cent; The Massacre; 1,141,000; March 6, 2005
Usher; Confessions; 1,096,000; March 28, 2004
Norah Jones; Feels Like Home; 1,022,000; Feb. 15, 2004
Eminem; The Eminem Show; 1,322,000; June 2, 2002
NSYNC; Celebrity; 1,879,955; July 29, 2001
The Beatles; 1; 1,259,000; Dec. 24, 2000
Backstreet Boys; Black & Blue; 1,591,000; Nov. 26, 2000
Limp Bizkit; Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water; 1,055,000; Oct. 22, 2000
Eminem; The Marshall Mathers LP; 1,760,049; May 28, 2000
Britney Spears; Oops!…I Did It Again; 1,319,000; May 21, 2000
NSYNC; No Strings Attached; 2,415,859; March 26, 2000
Backstreet Boys; Millennium; 1,134,000; May 23, 1999
Garth Brooks; Double Live; 1,085,000; Nov. 22, 1998
Whitney Houston/Soundtrack; The Bodyguard; 1,061,000; Jan. 3, 1993

And here is a list of some huge artists that have released huge albums in recent years that have NOT sold one million copies in a week:

Katy Perry (Prism only sold 286,000 in its first week, and that is KP’s best figure to date, following Teenage Dream, which matched MJ’s Bad record of 5 #1 singles off a single album).
Miley Cyrus (Bangers sold 270,000 copies first-week)
Nicki Minaj (The Pinkprint sold 198,000 in pure album sales, first-week)
Lady Gaga (I know people are calling Artpop a flop, with only 258,000 copies first-week, but it was still one of the ten best-selling albums of 2013. Cheek-to-Cheek (with Tony Bennet) debuted at #1 with about 130,000 first-week sales)
One Direction (Their biggest opening weeks have been around 400,000)
Justin Bieber (With all of the hubbub surrounding the Bieber v. One Direction album battle last week, Justin Bieber more than doubled initial sales forecasts by selling over 600,000 copies of his album–IF you count album-equivalent track sales and streams. If you don’t, then it sold 522,000 copies first week)
Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience came close to a million with 968,000 when it was released on March 15th, 2013, but no cigar)
Eminem (The Marshal Mathers EP 2 sold over 700,000 in 2013)
Beyonce (Remember the surprise album drop right before Christmas? It didn’t quite sell 1 million in a week, even if you ignore the fact that it was released in the middle of a tracking week.).
Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp a Butterfly 324,000)
Drake (If You’re Reading this, It’s too Late 495,000 pure album sales)
Dr. Dre (Compton 295,000)
Sam Smith (In the Lonely Hour has been a slow burn, without selling a ton in any given week. 166,000)
Maroon 5 (V 165,000)
Ed Sheeran (210,000 — also a slow burn driven by singles)
Various Artists (Fifty Shades of Grey 258,000)
Meghan Trainor (Title 238,000 — slow burn driven by singles)
Fall Out Boy (American Beauty/American Psycho 218,000)
Josh Groban (Stages about 500,000 copies all year; 180,000 in its first week if you count album equivalent streams and track sales)
Various Artists (Furious 7 Soundtrack)
Susan Boyle (I Dreamed a Dream sold 701,000 copies in its debut week in 2009. That was the biggest debut frame of the year, and the album was the second-biggest seller of the year with 3.1 million, after Taylor Swift’s Fearless (3.2 million). The album impressively continued to sell over 500,000 copies/week until after Christmas.)