Watch: 2011's Top 10 Hot 100 Countdown, with Exclusive Chart Trivia
Watch: 2011's Top 10 Hot 100 Countdown, with Exclusive Chart Trivia

ADELE'S ADULT ADULATION: "There are two sounds right now: Adele ... and everyone else."

That's how an industry colleague says that his two teenage children recently described what they're hearing on the car radio of late when driving with dad.

Billboard's charts reinforce the astuteness of that observation.

As Adele's "Someone Like You" logs a third week atop the Billboard Hot 100, the ballad ascends 2-1 on the Adult Pop Songs radio airplay chart. With her previous single "Rolling in the Deep" at No. 1 on Adult Contemporary for a 17th week, Adele is just the second artist to top the adult airplay tallies simultaneously with different titles.

On the Sept. 18 and 25, 2010, Adult Pop Songs charts, fellow Columbia Records act Train reigned with "If It's Love." The song's command coincided with the group's 22-week stay atop Adult Contemporary with prior single "Hey, Soul Sister."

How have Train and Adele earned their double dominations?

Both "Sister" and "Rolling" topped Adult Pop Songs before crossing to adult contemporary radio, as Columbia promoted the songs to adult pop stations before servicing them to AC. Why? The former format more quickly accepts new music, while the latter is more selective about its current music choices, as it's more reliant on a library stretching decades deeper.

Once "Sister" and "Rolling" had become established adult pop hits, the songs crossed to AC radio and scaled the Adult Contemporary chart. Columbia kept Train and Adele's momentum going by releasing follow-ups that led Adult Pop Songs while their predecessor singles had yet to abdicate the AC throne.

Columbia's strategy has helped each act methodically swell its fanbase a song, and radio format, at a time.

"We are extremely proud of Adele and Train's achievements at adult radio," says Columbia senior VP promotion/adult formats Pete Cosenza.

"We have always believed in the power of the adult audience and the long-term relationship that it has with our artists," Cosenza says. Dating to the Adult Contemporary chart's 1961 inception, iconic adult Columbia acts include Tony Bennett, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor.

"Our team constantly builds and maintains relationships with adult programmers, which helps keep our artists on top."