Adele’s new album 30 blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, debuting with the largest week of 2021 for any album, while the set is already the biggest-selling album of the year. It’s the third No. 1 for the superstar, following 25 (10 weeks on top in 2015-16) and 21 (24 weeks in 2011-12).
30 is Adele’s first album in six years, since she released 25 on Nov. 20, 2015.
30 starts with 839,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 25, according to MRC Data. That’s by far the largest week of the year for any album by units earned, surpassing the debut of Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, which earned 613,000 units in the week ending Sept. 9.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Dec. 4, 2021-dated chart (where 30 debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Nov. 30. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of 30’s 839,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 25, album sales comprise 692,000, SEA units comprise 141,000 (equaling 185.39 million on-demand streams of the set’s 12 tracks) and TEA units comprise 6,000 units.
30’s 692,000 album sales’ total is easily the largest sales week of the year for any album. It nearly doubles the year’s previous biggest sales week, when Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) sold 369,000 in the week ending Nov. 18.
Further, 30’s sales of 692,000 immediately make the set the biggest-selling album of the entire year, surpassing the total sales of any album over the past 11 months combined. The year’s previous biggest-selling album was Swift’s 2020 release Evermore, which has sold 471,000 in 2021.
Of 30’s total album sales (692,000), physical album sales account for 487,000 of that figure (378,000 in CDs; 108,000 in vinyl LPs; and just under 2,000 in cassette tapes) and digital album sales comprise 205,000. (30 has the second-largest sales week for a vinyl album since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991. Only Swift’s Red [Taylor’s Version] has sold more copies on vinyl in a single week since 1991, with 114,000 sold in the week ending Nov. 18, as reflected on the charts dated Nov. 27.)
The standard 12-track edition of the 30 album was available as a CD, digital album and black vinyl LP widely in the U.S. Adele’s official webstore exclusively sold the cassette tape edition of the album, as well as two deluxe boxed sets.
Beyond the standard widely available editions of the album, and Adele’s webstore offerings, the only other variants of the album available in the U.S. were a 15-track CD exclusive to Target and two vinyl LP variants – one exclusive to Amazon (a white-colored vinyl LP) and the other solely available through Walmart (a clear-colored LP). The Target CD contains three exclusive audio tracks, including a version of the album’s lead single “Easy on Me” featuring Chris Stapleton; the song is by Adele solo on all other versions of the set. Target is the only U.S. retailer with any bonus audio tracks for 30.
30’s first-week sales of 692,000 not only mark the single-largest sales frame of 2021, but the largest sales week for any album since 2017. The last time an album sold more copies in a single week was when Taylor Swift’s Reputation debuted with 1.216 million copies sold in the week ending Nov. 16, 2017 (reflected on the Dec. 2, 2017-dated charts).
In its debut week, Reputation was not available in full on streaming services, and its digital album was exclusively sold via the Apple iTunes Store and Swift’s webstore. The album was also available in two Target-exclusive zine/CD editions, but not on vinyl or cassette. No bonus tracks were featured on any version of the album in its release week. First-week sales of Reputation were also likely enhanced by fan participation in the Taylor Swift Tix powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan program, where the purchase of an album would help secure greater access to Swift’s then-upcoming stadium tour. (Such a promotion is no longer eligible to count toward charted sales, as of Oct. 9, 2020.)
In terms of streams, 30 debuts with 141,000 SEA units – totaling 185.39 million on-demand streams of the album’s 12 tracks. That’s the fourth-largest streaming debut of 2021 for an album by a woman, after the opening weeks of Red (Taylor’s Version) (303.23 million), Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour (300.73 million) and Summer Walker’s Still Over It (201.07 million). (Each of those figures is a weekly total of streams for each album’s songlist. The sum of Red [Taylor’s Version] reflected 30 tracks in its debut week, Sour had 11, Still Over It had 20 and 30 has 12.)
Comparably, Adele’s last album, 25, was not available to listen to in full on streaming services in its first week of release. 25 didn’t arrive in full on streamers until seven months later, in June of 2016.
30 was ushered in by the single “Easy on Me,” which has spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart (through the most recently published list, dated Nov. 27). The album was also supported by a 90-minute CBS TV special on Nov. 14, in which Adele performed songs in concert and sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Adele has also recently graced the magazine covers of American Vogue and Rolling Stone.
Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) falls from No. 1 to No. 2 in its second week, with 159,000 equivalent album units earned (down 74%). Drake’s former No. 1 Certified Lover Boy climbs 5-3 with 53,000 units (though down 7%), Silk Sonic’s An Evening With Silk Sonic dips 2-4 in its second week with 50,000 (down 52%), Morgan Wallen’s chart-topping Dangerous: The Double Album rises 6-5 with 48,000 units (up 6%) and Summer Walker’s former leader Still Over It falls 4-6 with just under 48,000 (down 25%).
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ second collaborative album, Raise the Roof, debuts at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. It’s the ninth top 10 for Plant as a solo artist, and the fifth for Krauss (including her work with Union Station). Raise the Roof follows Plant and Krauss’ first teaming, on the 2007 album Raising Sand, which debuted and peaked at No. 2. The set later won the Grammy Award for album of the year. (Legendary rock band Led Zeppelin, with Plant as a member, has banked 13 top 10s on the tally, including seven No. 1s, beginning in 1969.)
Raise the Roof starts with a little over 40,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, album sales comprise 38,000, SEA units comprise 2,000 (equaling 2.17 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs) and TEA units comprise less than 1,000.
Olivia Rodrigo’s former No. 1 Sour climbs 11-8 with 40,000 equivalent album units earned (up 23%).
Michael Bublé’s chart-topping Christmas album jingles its way back to the top 10, as the album, first released in 2011, bolts 22-9 with 39,000 equivalent album units earned (up 77%). The set gets a boost courtesy of promotion around a 10th anniversary deluxe reissue that was released on Nov. 19, which includes additional tracks.
Christmas spent five weeks at No. 1 in late 2011 and early 2012 and has returned to the top 10 in every Christmas season since.
Closing out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 is The Weeknd’s hits compilation The Highlights, which re-enters the chart at No. 10 with 37,000 equivalent album units earned (up 724%). The album debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Feb. 20-dated chart. The Highlights was sparked in the latest tracking week by its release on vinyl LP, as 91% of the album’s sales for the week were on vinyl (a little over 5,000 of a nearly 6,000 sold).