Adele’s Album May Break Sales Records—Even Though It’s 2015

Pubblicato: 23 novembre 2015 in La materia dei segni

 

Against all trends, a 2015 album has a shot at setting the mark for most albums sold in a week—breaking a record set in 2000.

2015 HAS BEEN another dire year for the music industry in terms of high-profile album sales. Only one release thus far, Drake’s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, has sold a million copies, and it took six months to do so. The only other record to go platinum in 2015 is Taylor Swift’s 1989—which came out last year.

But there’s a new contender in the wings, and if things go right it could upend everything conventional wisdom has been telling us about the music business. Adele’s highly-anticipated third album, 25, has a shot at breaking the all-time single-week sales record. Just to be clear: An album from 2015, a year where album sales are in the toilet and the industry is still freaking out about how to make streaming work as a viable business model, could be the fastest-selling record ever.

“Last year when Taylor Swift sold 1.3 million albums in her first week, everybody thought, ‘well that’s Taylor, she’s special, it’s her first pop record, she’s reaching a broader audience than ever,’” says David Bakula, senior vice president of industry insights for Nielsen Entertainment. “Lo and behold, along comes Adele. It’s one thing to talk about a million in sales, but just to know that people are actually mentioning [the sales record], it’s crazy.”

Wednesday, Billboard cited “insiders” who relayed that “Sony is projecting first-week CD sales of 1.5 million” which could pair with about 1 million in digital sales, 900,000 at Apple. iTunes has taken 450,000 digital preorders, while Amazon has pre-sold 100,000 physical and digital copies. That puts 25 in the realm of 2.5 million copies—just over the record-setting 2.415 million copies NSYNC’s No Strings Attached sold back in March 2000, before the digital music revolution destroyed the foundation of physical sales.

If those numbers seem over-inflated, then perhaps it’s time to revisit how successful 25’s first single “Hello” has been. It was the first single ever to top 1 million downloads in its first week. The video has been viewed over 400 million times on YouTube. And Adele’s previous album, 21, has sold 30 million units worldwide in four years. “21 has never been out of the top 200,” says Bakula. “This record is not only nothing like 21, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen in the past 15 years.” The singer has steered clear of the usual marketing strategies most current-day artist employ; she protects her vocal chords by not performing frequently, and she doesn’t engage with fans on social media. But the numbers don’t lie: a massive amount of people want to hear new Adele music—and more importantly, they’re willing to pay for it.

That’s why yesterday’s New York Times report that the album wouldn’t be made available on Apple Music, Spotify, or any other streaming service is so big. It’s a strategy pointedly aimed at boosting sales numbers to reach for NSYNC’s record, and 25 is uniquely positioned to do so. This album is being treated as a music industry messiah rescuing retailers everywhere, from independent record stores to big-box chains like Target—who have an exclusive edition that includes seven music videos. “Every time we see a change in the way music is consumed, people automatically just abandon the thought that albums could ever sell that quantity again,” Bakula says. “And then invariably a record comes out that completely blows away anything we thought could happen.”

But not everyone sees this as a unique victory. “I highly doubt that she’ll reach NSYNC’s sales plateau,” says Bob Lefsetz, author of influential music-industry blog The Lefsetz Letter. “But even if she meets it, who cares? It’s an old metric. That would be like counting how many phones Palm or Nokia sold, or how many floppy discs were sold.” To Lefsetz, the giant marketing push and sales frenzy around25 represents a stark contrast to 21‘s long-tail success (30 million copies sold worldwide since 2011) and lasting cultural impact: “It’s pent-up demand. [Her] previous album was a step better than everything else in the marketplace. It became a phenomenon, ironically helped by credibility of leaving money on the table. This is a complete 180.”

This week’s Billboard chart saw a new-album showdown between One Direction and Justin Bieber, with the victor to be announced later today. It sounds like a clash of the titans, but even after weeks of jousting promotional campaigns and marketing gimmicks with digital partners like Lyft,their combined sales won’t add up to half of the projected numbers for Adele. Granted, a few outlier successes can’t save the whole industry—but 25 is the first straightaway industry success story to come along in a decade that doesn’t feel artificially trumped up to compete with the record-setting numbers of a pre-digital era. Refreshingly, Adele’s new album is genuinely inexplicable.

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Sorgente: Adele’s Album May Break Sales Records—Even Though It’s 2015 | WIRED

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