Adele’s 30 is the first album released in over a year to sell a million copies in the U.S.
30 has sold just over 1 million in traditional album sales in the U.S., across all of its formats (CD, vinyl LP, cassette and digital album download), through Dec. 6, according to initial reports to MRC Data. The album was released on Nov. 19.
30 sold 692,000 copies in its first week in the U.S. (week ending Nov. 25), and then sold 225,000 copies in its second week (ending Dec. 2).
The last new released album to sell a million copies in the U.S. (i.e., excluding catalog [older] albums that may have hit the threshold) was Taylor Swift’s Folklore, which was issued on July 24, 2020. It surpassed 1 million sold in the week ending Oct. 22, 2020. Its total sales stand at 1.55 million through Dec. 2. Folklore was the only album released in 2020 to sell a million copies in the U.S.
In recent years, it has been rare for an album to sell a million copies in the U.S. The frequency of million-selling albums has fallen as fans have embraced consuming music via streaming services.
Only three albums released in 2019 have sold a million copies to date (Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Swift’s Lover and Harry Styles’ Fine Line) and in 2018 just one album released went on to sell a million (Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s soundtrack to A Star is Born).
Keep in mind that traditional album sales are different from equivalent album units. The latter is the measurement used to rank the most popular albums of the week on the Billboard 200 chart. In 2021, through Dec. 2, there are 19 albums that earned over 1 million equivalent album units in the U.S., and nine of them were released in 2021. (Equivalent album units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums [TEA] and streaming equivalent albums [SEA]. Each unit equals one traditional album sales, 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.)