Adele’s ’21’ Surpasses 10 Million in Sales

Who says you can’t sell albums in the digital age? Adele’s XL/Columbia release, 21, has coincidentally become the 21st album in Nielsen SoundScan history to surpass sales in excess of 10 million units.

She has also received the RIAA Diamond Award, for shipments of 10 million units, making her the only artist or band in the last decade to earn the honor with a one-disc album less than two years after release.  

21 continues to move units, selling 28,000 this past week. The album has remained on the charts since it debuted at No. 1, where it reigned for a SoundScan record of 24 non-consecutive weeks.

The album qualified for the blockbuster status within just 92 weeks of release, a feat only eight albums have achieved in two years (104 weeks) of debuting. These additional musical stalwarts include Shania Twain’s Come On Over, ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached, Backstreet Boys’ Millennium, Santana’s Supernatural, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, The Bodyguard soundtrack, and Creed’s Human Clay.

SoundScan’s tracking service has been reporting data since 1991. Since then, the top 10 albums sold are:

  1. Metallica Metallica ­– 15.8 million
  2. Shania Twain Come On Over ­­–15.5 million
  3. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill – 14.8 million
  4. BSB Millennium – 12.2 million
  5. The Beatles 1 – 12.1 million
  6. The Bodyguard – 12 million
  7. Santana Supernatural – 11.7 million
  8. Creed Human Clay – 11.6 million
  9. Bob Marley and the Wailers Legend – 11.2 million
  10. ‘N Sync No Strings Attached –11.1 million

*RIAA tallies shipments from record companies, while SoundScan tracks consumer purchases.


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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine,, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. | @EricTParker

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