A new Adele album is typically greeted with excitement and bumper sales. That was certainly the case in her homeland, where 30 (Columbia) logged multiple weeks at No. 1 and ended 2021 as the market’s biggest album.
Following its Nov. 19 release, Adele’s fourth LP became the fastest-selling title of the year in the U.K., notching 261,000 week-one chart sales.
Since then, the album shifted upwards of 600,000 combined sales and led the weekly chart for five cycles, equaling Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour (Interscope) for the year’s longest-reign.
30 was a popular stocking filler. The album shifted 502,000 units in “pure” sales, including 448,000 physical units, according to the OCC in its 2021 market analysis.
The year’s No. 2 best-seller is Ed Sheeran’s = (Equals via Asylum), amassing more than 432,000 combined sales, including 139,000 units in it its first week.
ABBA’s comeback was warmly received, as their first album of new material in four decades, Voyage (Polar), arrives at No. 3 on the year-end albums tally with 400,000 chart sales across 2021. The Swedish pop legends are second only to Adele in terms of sales proper, with 387,000.
Coming in at No. 4 is Rodrigo’s Sour with combined chart sales north of 395,000, confirming the California teen as one of 2021’s most popular new talents. Sour is the top debut album in the U.K. for 2021, and it’s the most-streamed album of the year, with streams accounting for 83% of the total.
Queen’s evergreen Greatest Hits (EMI) completes the Top 5. The career retrospective has clocked-up a staggering 978 weeks on the Official Chart (second only to ABBA’s Gold, at 1,026 weeks) and it’s recognized as the U.K.’s all-time best-selling album.
Compiled by the OCC, a joint venture of the BPI and Entertainment Retailers Assn (ERA), the official albums survey is based on sales of CDs, downloads, vinyl and weighted audio streams.
Official Top 10 biggest albums of 2021:
1. 30, Adele
2. =, Ed Sheeran
3. Voyage, Abba
4. Sour, Olivia Rodrigo
5. Greatest Hits, Queen
6. Future Nostalgia, Dua Lipa
7. Divide, Ed Sheeran
8. Diamonds, Elton John
9. 50 Years – Don’t Stop, Fleetwood Mac
10. We’re All Alone In This Together, Dave