This week, One Direction becomes the first act since 2005 to have two newly-released albums sell more than a million in a calendar year.
In other words: They have released two albums since January, and both have already sold a million before the year has closed at the end of December.
One Direction’s Right Direction: The Billboard Cover Story
Clearly, it’s still One Direction’s world, and we’re just living in it.
The vocal group’s latest album, “Take Me Home,” sold another 127,000 in the week ending Dec. 16, bringing its to-date total to 1.04 million in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set, released on Nov. 13, joins One Direction’s debut effort “Up All Night” in the million-sellers club. “Up All Night” arrived on March 13 and has sold 1.51 million.
The last artist to move a million of two new albums in a calendar year was Kenny Chesney in 2005. That year, he sold 1.08 million of his January 2005 release “Be As You Are: Songs From an Old Blue Chair” and 1.82 million of the November 2005 set “The Road and the Radio.”
Currently, “Up All Night” and “Take Me Home” are the Nos. 3 and 8 best-selling albums of 2012. Adele‘s “21” leads with 4.30 million while Taylor Swift‘s “Red” is in second place with 2.59 million.
It’s slightly more common (but not by much) for an act to score multiple million-selling albums in a year with a blend of older and newer titles. For example, before One Direction, the last act to move a million of more than one album in a year was Michael Jackson in 2009.
In the wake of his death, his “Number Ones” greatest hits set, first released in 2003, sold 2.36 million in 2009. His million-sellers in 2009 were followed by the then-new “This Is It” film soundtrack/compilation (1.29 million), the 1982 “Thriller” studio album (1.27 million) and 2005’s “The Essential Michael Jackson” compilation (1.15 million).