Adele Named Billboard 2011 Artist of The Year: Q&A
Adele Named Billboard 2011 Artist of The Year: Q&A

It's been said a thousand times already: 2011 has been a hell of a year for Adele. Her sophomore record, "21," has sold more than 5.8 million copies -- by far the best of the year -- and has reigned atop the Billboard 200 for 14 weeks of the year. It's the first album since 2005 to achieve 30 weeks of 100,000-plus sales, and it's the first album since 2004 to sell more than 5 million copies in a year.

Look more closely and Adele is still a sales juggernaut. We've broken the numbers down, for Adele and "21," according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. The top five statistics, in descending order:

5. "Rolling in the Deep," the album's first cut and Best Selling Digital Song and Best Selling Digital Track of 2011, was also the year's Most-Played Song on radio, with 658,000 detections.

4. "21" sold 4.0 million physical copies, earning it the title of Best Selling Physical Album of 2011. Its sales nearly doubled those of the second-best selling physical album, Michael Bublé's "Christmas," which moved just 2.1 million.

3. In 2011, digital track sales from "21" number 12.8 million. The second- and third-best selling albums of 2011, Michael Bublé's "Christmas" and Lady Gaga's "Born this Way," sold 526,000 and 9.1 million individual digital tracks, respectively. Even LMFAO, the digital song sales kings, sold just 8.7 million individual tracks from their 2011 album "Sorry For Party Rocking."

2. Adele also holds the title for Best Selling Digital Album of All Time, with 1.8 million units sold.

1. Adele is the first artist ever to nab the titles of Best Selling Artist, Best Selling Album ("21"), and Best Selling Digital Song ("Rolling in the Deep") in the same year.

However, there are a few records Adele didn't break this year. Garth Brooks continues to hold the title of Best Selling Artist in the Nielsen Soundscan era (with 68.5 million albums sold overall), and Rihanna took the honor of Best-Selling Digital Artist of all time this year with more than 47.5 million digital track sales. Additionally, Metallica's 1991 eponymous album still holds the title of Best-Selling Album in the Nielsen Soundscan era with 15.7 million sales.

Still, Brooks, Rihanna, and Metallica have been around for a few more years than Adele-Brooks' first album dropped in 1989, Rihanna's in 2005, and Metallica's in 1983, in contrast to Adele's 2008 debut--it could simply be a matter of time before the singer breaks more records.

Adele's stateside home, Columbia, reaped the benefits of her success too: the label group snagged the largest market share among label groups in 2011, with a 9.34 share.