Singer Adele performs onstage during the Oscars held at the Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood.
Photograph by Mark Davis — WireImage/Getty Images
By Jeff John Roberts
November 26, 2015

Adele’s new album, 25, debuted a week ago, and the numbers so far are staggering. The album has reportedly sold nearly 3 million copies, including 1.45 million digital ones, which breaks a weekly record set in 2000 by boy-band ‘NSYNC. Meanwhile, the first single from the album, Hello, had already been viewed nearly 500 million times as of Thanksgiving afternoon.

To put this in context, Hello, has been out for only a few days and is already on Vevo’s “most viewed of all time” list, where it could soon eclipse the list’s #1 (Taylor Swift’s Blank Space) and #2 (Justin Bieber’s Baby).

Here is a screenshot, showing a counter at the bottom of Vevo, where the video single appears:

Meanwhile, Adele seems to have single-handedly brought about a return to relevance of CDs. Based on Billboard’s report, Adele has sold over a million of the things—even if many millennials don’t know how to play them. Ironically, it appears some people bought the CD only as a cheaper way to get hold of an online version through Amazon (which gives shoppers a free digital copy of any CD they buy through an “AutoRip” program):

All of this will no doubt provide further grist for the music industry, which has been in a furious debate over how and when musicians should stream their songs. Unlike nearly everyone else, Adele chose not to let streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music play 25. The only song currently available for streaming is Hello, which Adele is hosting on her own Vevo channel (songs can also be heard on Pandora but that’s a different situation because Pandora is a radio service that doesn’t let users call up a song on-demand).

The upshot is that some may be tempted to follow Adele’s example in hope that a lack of streaming options will lead fans to buy the music instead. While Taylor Swift has likewise advocated for this approach, the reality is that shutting off streaming may be feasible only for a tiny handful of mega-mega-stars like Swift and Adele. Everyone else, especially those who lacks the stars’ massive marketing machine, may find that the exposure and ad money they get from streaming is worth more than holding out for album sales.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the date of previous ‘NSYNC record. The record was from 2000, not 1991. For more about Adele, watch this Fortune video:

 

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like

EDIT POST