News that British songstress Adele was back with a new song, nearly five years after dropping her earthshaking sophomore album 21, has set the music world aflame. The new song, “Hello,” is part of the blue-eyed soul diva’s upcoming album 25.
In the world of Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, artists who can actually convince the public to pay money for music—either in physical media like CDs or vinyl records, or digitally through iTunes or another music store—are few and far between. There are only five artists who can pull off such a feat consistently: Adele, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Rihanna.
There are a few others nipping at the heels of these five, of course. Eminem can sell albums occasionally, though not as much lately. Bruno Mars has had two records with impressive sales, though he’d need a third to be in the same league as the five women listed above. (Yes, Adele only has two records as well, but 21 was such a smash that we’re including her.) Lady Gaga looked like she was heading toward the music business elite, but her last album Artpop had disappointing sales compared with hits The Fame/The Fame Monster and Born This Way. Teen sensations like Justin Bieber and One Direction do well, but they seem to be trending down (plus, One Direction may be splitting up and, come on people, Zayn was the heart of that band.)
Will 25 sell as well as 21? Probably not. But it will likely sell very well, which can’t be taken for granted in 2015.