As expected, Adele’s 25 holds at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a fourth week -- and by a large margin. The set earned 825,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Dec. 17 (up 13 percent), according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 790,000 were in pure album sales (up 14 percent).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Jan. 2, 2016-dated chart (where Adele is No. 1) will be posted in full to Billboard’s websites on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
In 25’s first four weeks of release, it sold 5.98 million copies. With its most recent sales week, 25 has surpassed the sales of Taylor Swift’s 1989 (5.57 million) to become the biggest selling album released in the U.S. since Adele’s last album, 21, which was issued in 2011. It has sold 11.37 million.
To put it another way: Adele's 21 and 25 are the Nos. 1 and 2 biggest selling albums released since 2009. The last album to sell more than 25 was Taylor Swift's Fearless, which was released in 2008 and has sold 7 million.
25 is also now the largest selling album of any calendar year since 2004, when Usher’s Confessions sold 7.98 million.
Further, 25 is the only album to sell in excess of 695,000 copies in four different weeks (or three, for that matter) since Nielsen Music began tracking point-of-sale purchases in 1991. The album bowed with 3.38 million sold in its first week, then sold 1.11 million in its second frame, and then 695,000 in week three.
There are still two more tracking weeks left in the 2015 calendar year -- the weeks ending Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. As the Dec. 24 week closes on the day before Christmas -- thus capturing a full seven days of last-minute holiday shopping -- 25’s sales are sure to surge. 25 could even capture another million-selling week.
In other Adele news, 21 returns to the top 10 on the latest Billboard 200, climbing 14-10 with 49,000 units (up 42 percent) and 40,000 in pure album sales (up 46 percent). Her first album, 19, is also in the top 40, as it rises 48-36 with 21,000 units (up 29 percent) and 18,000 in pure sales (up 36 percent).
Adele’s cumulative album sales -- for her three studio efforts and two digital-only live sets for iTunes -- jump past 20 million: to 20.28 million.
As for artists not named Adele in the top 10… Justin Bieber’s Purpose ascends a spot to No. 2 (166,000 units; up 10 percent), while Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas to Me is up 4-3 (141,000 units; up 1 percent). One Direction’s Made in the A.M. vaults 8-4 (67,000 units; up 11 percent), The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness steps 10-5 (63,000 units; up 29 percent) and Chris Stapleton’s Traveller moves 9-6 (62,000 units; up 22 percent). Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams falls 2-7 in its second week (61,000 units; down 71 percent) while both Michael Buble’s Christmas (11-8 with 50,000 units; up 5 percent) and Taylor Swift’s 1989 (12-9 with 49,000 units; up 28 percent) return to the top 10.
Just outside the top 10, The Voice winner Jordan Smith arrives at No. 11 with The Complete Season 9 Collection (48,000 units; 8,000 in pure album sales). The set had the highest track equivalent unit total of an album on the chart this week: 40,000 units, owed to the strong sales of the tracks on the album. It’s no surprise then to see that Smith dominates the top of the Digital Songs chart, with four titles in the top 20, including the No. 1: “Mary, Did You Know” (a debut with 161,000 downloads).