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Adele Rules 2011 With Top Selling Album & Song

Though it seemed a foregone conclusion months ago, Adele's "21" and her "Rolling in the Deep" single finish 2011 as the United States' top-selling album and song, according to Nielsen So…

Though it seemed a foregone conclusion months ago, Adele‘s “21” and her “Rolling in the Deep” single finish 2011 as the United States’ top-selling album and song, according to Nielsen SoundScan. “21” sold 5.82 million copies last year, while “Rolling” moved 5.81 million downloads.

1. Adele, “21” (5.82 million)
2. Michael Buble, “Christmas” (2.45 million)
3. Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” (2.1 million)
4. Lil Wayne, “Tha Carter IV” (1.92 million)
5. Jason Aldean, “My Kinda Party” (1.58 million)

Digital Songs:

1. Adele, “Rolling in the Deep” (5.81 million)
2. LMFAO, “Party Rock Anthem” (5.47 million)
3. Katy Perry, “E.T.” (4.83 million)
4. Maroon 5, “Moves Like Jagger” (4.11 million)
5. Pitbull, “Give Me Everything” (3.87 million)

Data: Nielsen SoundScan

“21” — Adele’s second album — is the biggest-selling set of any year since 2004, when Usher’s “Confessions” sold 7.98 million. “21” also sells more than twice the amount of 2011’s second-largest album — Michael Buble‘s “Christmas,” with 2.45 million. 2004 was the last year where the top selling set sold at least two times as much as the runner-up. “Confessions” was way ahead of Norah Jones’ “Feels Like Home,” which was the No. 2 seller of 2004 with 3.84 million.


“21” bounded onto the Billboard 200 chart at No. 1 on the list dated March 21, 2011 — selling 352,000 copies in its debut week, granting Adele her first chart-topper. In its so-far 44-week run on the chart, it has never left the top 10 — and only slipped out of the top five on the weekly chart once. It is currently spending its 14th non-consecutive frame at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Lady Gaga‘s “Born This Way” is the year’s third-biggest set, having moved 2.1 million, while Lil Wayne‘s “Tha Carter IV” is No. 4 on the top sellers list with 1.92 million. This is the third year in a row Gaga has placed an album among the year’s top 10 sellers. In 2009 “The Fame” was No. 4 (2.24 million) while in 2010 “Fame” was No. 6 with 1.59 million.

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At No. 5 on 2011’s year-end best-selling albums list is Jason Aldean‘s “My Kinda Party” (1.58 million), followed by Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” (No. 6; 1.42 million), Drake’s “Take Care” (No. 7; 1.25 million), Justin Bieber’s “Under the Mistletoe” (No. 8; 1.25 million — about 2,000 copies behind Drake), Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “Watch the Throne” (No. 9; 1.23 million) and Lady Antebellum’s “Own the Night” (No. 10; 1.20 million).

2011 marks the first year since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 that two Christmas sets are among the year-end top 10 best-sellers list.

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During the 52 weeks that ended Jan. 1, album sales in the U.S. rose — for the first time since 2004 — by 1% to 330.57 million units from 326.15 million in 2010. CD sales were down 6% while digital album downloads jumped by 20% to a record 103.1 million from the 86.3 million scanned in 2010. The top-selling digital album of 2011 was also Adele’s “21,” with 1.80 million downloads sold.

For the fourth straight year, more vinyl albums were sold than in any other year since SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. In 2011, 3.9 million vinyl LPs were sold — up compared to the previous record of 2.8 million in 2010. 67% of all vinyl albums sold in 2011 were purchased at an independent music store and nearly 3 out of every 4 vinyl LPs bought were a rock album.

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart earlier in 2011, leads the year’s top-selling digital songs tally. It is ahead of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock (No. 2 with 5.47 million) and Katy Perry’s “E.T.” (No. 3 with 4.83 million).

“Rolling in the Deep” is the biggest selling digital song of any year since SoundScan began tallying download sales in 2003. Further, this is the first year any song has sold at least 5 million downloads — and two tunes did it in 2011 (“Rolling” and “Party Rock Anthem”).

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To compare, 2010’s top selling digital song was Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” (4.40 million) while 2009’s biggest was the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” (4.76 million).

Adele has a pair of songs in the year-end 2011 top digital songs list, as “Someone Like You” (another former No. 1 Hot 100 single), is the No. 7-seller (3.75 million).

As for the rest of the years top 10 songs, Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” (featuring Christina Aguilera) is No. 4 with 4.11 million, followed by Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” (featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer) (No. 5; 3.87 million), Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (No. 6; 3.84 million), Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You (F**k You)” (No. 8; 3.72 million), Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” (No. 9; 3.61 million) and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” (No. 10; 3.48 million).

Overall digital song sales grew 8.5% in 2011 as sales increased to a record 1.27 billion downloads last year, compared with 2010’s then-record 1.17 billion.

Keep checking back to Billboard.com and Billboard.biz throughout the day and week for more stories about SoundScan’s year-end sales data.